With the gradual acceptance of the term ‘creative industries’ and its increasing ubiquitous use to refer to any industry that might be ‘cool’, ‘creative’, or ‘cultural’, it is healthy to see some fresh criticism of the relevance not only as an industry, but as a key government policy.
In an article Making Monkeys of us all in Thisismoney.co.uk, Dan Atkinson questions the metrics and the logic behind the UK Government’s push to make the nation creative.
Atkinson attacks claims of increased job growth in the sector, quoting the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts the Government’s own publication, which stated jobs in advertising and games development have dropped and the number of feature films being released have fallen, all amid ‘increasing international competition’.
Atkinson also mentions an Ofsted (the UK education watchdog) statement about the education system failing students at the secondary school level. While he stops short of directly attributing the decline in ‘creative jobs’ to poor education, Atkinson has demonstrated, if implicitly, that a robust and relevant education is imperative in boosting a nation’s creativity.
Also in the firing line is the recent ‘snobbish’ disdain for manufactures in favour of copyright goods, arguing that ‘it is rather harder to copy an Audi than an Arctic Monkeys CD’.
A century ago, Britain ascribed all sorts of artiness to the mysterious Orient and prided itself on its hard-headed Western know-how. Now, we cheerfully let India and China make things while daydreaming about creativity.
While it’s consumers that copy CDs (other auto manufacturers are rather more likely to ‘copy’ an Audi than an aspiring owner), the article does question the limits of the economic value of intangible products, and the ability to claim ownership of and rents from ideas, information, and knowledge that are becoming increasingly detached from physical vessels that once contained them.