Creative Industries and Economic Evolution
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Creative Industries and Economic Evolution

Jason Potts

The creative industries are key drivers of modern economies. While economic analysis has traditionally advanced a market-failure model of arts and culture, this book argues for an evolutionary market dynamics or innovation-based approach. The book explores theoretical and conceptual aspects of an evolutionary economic approach to the study of the creative economy. Topics include creative businesses and labour markets, social networks, innovation processes and systems, institutions, and the role of creative industries in market dynamics and economic growth.
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Chapter 3: Young, Creative and Extremely Rich

Jason Potts


Prolegomena This chapter is an edited version of Potts (2006): ‘How creative are the super-rich?’ Agenda, 13(4): 339–50. It argues that the rise of the creative industries also shows up in ‘rich lists’. This is a sign of their contribution to economic evolution. 3.1 INTRODUCTION What sort of evidence do we have for these hypothesized evolutionary changes in the creative economy? The standard measures of the creative economy are the so-called ‘creative industries mapping documents’ – first produced by the UK’s DCMS in 1998 then widely replicated in other regions and nations. These industrial surveys routinely find that the creative industries are indeed a significant and a growing part of the economy. This framework has subsequently been applied to creative employment, also finding significance and growth (Higgs et al. 2008). Taken together, these aggregate statistics are consistent with the ‘rise of the creative economy’ thesis argued by the likes of Richard Florida, Charles Leadbeater, John Howkins et al. that underpins modern creative industries policy (Cunningham 2006). Yet beyond journalistic calibrations and population statistics there are also more subtle ways to test the hypothesis of evolutionary dynamics in the arts, cultural and creative sector using smaller and more extreme data sets. Specifically, evolutionary and innovation economics predicts that we should observe the creation of significant wealth and income by the pioneers and leaders of this (or any) emerging, growing, evolving sector. Think Henry Ford in automotive manufacture, or the Google boys in search. These are not like the monopoly...

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