From the Information Economy to the Creative Economy

Moving Culture to the Center of International Public Policy

Shalini Venturelli

2000, 39 pages. Center for Arts and Culture, Washington D.C.

A dense but well-organized discussion of a complex topic, Shalini Venturelli's From the Information Economy to the Creative Economy asserts that we need new models to shape and understand economics in the global Internet age. Not only do economists need to evaluate social, psychological, and political factors shaping the flow of money and products, the "...production and distribution of creative ideas and intellectual/cultural products are qualitatively different from the production and consumption of widgets, automobiles, appliances and other industrial products.”

The new economic model would need to recognize that information “products” increase in value as they are used by many rather than being “used up” or depreciated. Venturelli recommends policies that protect access and promote pluralism as critical to promoting the growth of creative ideas. “Monopolies” on information or its distribution act like giant commercial entertainment entities: By narrowing the focus of investment and public field of vision, they hamstring development of creative ideas.

The most significant policies affecting the creative economy are being formed at a global level within international and multilateral institutions. This makes tracing their ramifications particularly complex. Venturelli warns, “The political reality of the emerging Information Society requires that more careful attention be applied to the design of an open and accessible creative economy.” She closes the booklet with a list of specific policy areas and recommendations for enriching the public sphere.

I would classify this as “...a morning read,” an abstract, difficult piece of writing, but worth the cup of coffee and effort. Its values are affirming and familiar to anyone who has defended the social importance of art and artists.

Frances Phillips, Program Officer, Walter & Elise Haas Fund