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Creative Economy : “Aesthetics” for Thai Economy Survival

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

(A hit quote which most people thought was written by Charles Darwin)

            “Civilisation” of the 21st century is certainly more sophisticated than that of our ancestors who defined justice through weapons. Nonetheless, fighting is still an instinct which civilised people cannot get rid of. It just has more sophisticated forms and strategies.

            Creative Economy is a new battle field built by developed countries so as to defeat those developing ones. But in the brand new battle field full of cloud of uncertainty, the stronger party may become the weaker on the next day. It all depends on which party would discover the better winning “strategy”.

            In the past, we used to believe that the “stronger” is the winner. But a lot of evidences are contradicting this assumption. The elephant army of Hannibal, for example, was defeated through the war of attrition planned by Fabian, the Roman commander and strategist. Similarly, the cruelty of Dong Zhuo could not retain the victory for as long as Cao Cao who knew how to sophisticatedly exercise both power and kindness.

            Lessons learned from the history reflect that the “strategy” to define victory is a delicate and complicated thing. Only strong dedication and enormous resource investment cannot guarantee sustainable victory. This explains both the prosperity and deterioration of all powerful lands. Wealth and victory of the present time, without the right management, may be beaten by those with less resources but better strategies in the future.

            Creative Economy is similar to those “wars” where only money, knowledge, and resources are not the determinants of results unless the right strategies and management approach are used.

            “Patents and intellectual property” are leveraged to be an urgent agenda to lead countries to the creative economy. But if considered thoroughly, this strategy might just be an intellectual trap to make those countries wholeheartedly execute the agenda. Forgetting that resources are limited, if the countries invest too much resources in minor spots, they cannot “centralise the power” to beat strategic areas significant for winning the battle.

            In the traditional economy where technologies are drivers, patents and intellectual property are strategic assets to be strived for in order to beat competitors who are slower in creating innovations. But in the creative economy,“national uniqueness and culture” which is intelligently used to craft creative products is in fact the true determinant of victory. Therefore, products which are based on national characteristics are hard to be imitated. If they can be copied, it means that skills in crafting such uniqueness are not at sufficient level. In the long term, they cannot attract loyal customers and patents are therefore not necessary.

            The key strategy for creative economy is thus not investment of abundant amount of resources on patent application and strict law enforcement to prevent imitation. This is because creative products are different from those of other industries. If the government really aims at encouraging the creative economy, efforts should be directed to building creative ecology to stimulate Thai people to turn Thai uniqueness into creative products which are attractive to worldwide customers.

            The creativity power of each individual human is limited. So, dedication of budget and government officers in building appropriate environment to attract diverse people to co-develop “creativity” is a more appropriate strategy than reservation by patents and intellectual property.

            Of course, patents are asset which are more tangible than the “cloud of ideas”.However, it is important to remember that we are in the creative economy where decisions to purchase anything is based on intangible mental happiness, rather than tangible efficiency and quality.

            “Financial capital” is another significant problem in the creative economy, especially when quality of creative products cannot be measured through their technologies, patents, or even efficiency in functioning. So, the government and investors alike cannot decide to whose creative products the limited financial capital should be allocated.

            Nevertheless, the value of creative economy depends on the capability of the products in creating aesthetic touch and happiness to consumers. So, entrepreneurs in the creative economy need more or less of “The Art of Storytelling” as their asset. The government thus can play a role here by providing training and support to creative entrepreneurs in expanding their capability from only creating products into crafting outstanding stories to also build confidence for investors. This will lead to efficient financial resource allocation to develop sustainable creative economy for Thailand.

            Creative economy is a new economy which needs different thinking process, management systems, and resource allocation from traditional economy. Unfortunately, human are prone to get stuck with familiarity rather than walking in the cloud of uncertainty. So, the development of creative economy by worldwide governments, who prays for effective results, is usually based on traditional strategies which are actually effective for traditional economy.

            This is a great opportunity for a developing country like Thailand to quickly find out the “strategy” and to shift the paradigm to ensure alignment with the new context of creative economy, especially through courage to walk to the future while leaving behind the Western norms of practice. Only with pioneer mindset that China, the country used to be disdained as “patient of Asia”, can make a beautiful comeback in the 21st century world economy.

            “The aesthetics” of Thailand creative economy is therefore not to imitate traditional strategies well known by everyone. But it is the great creative spirit which is courageous enough to break through with uniqueness in the new miraculous environment.

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  • Published Date: 2010-03-07
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