Cultural economics: vital part of European integration

Culture as an economic category has acquired recently additional attention. Disjunctions between economy and culture are quickly disappearing, giving room to closer liaison with different types of connections, such as design and architecture, art and poetry, fashion and music, as well as in various brand-names and other “intellectual products”. 

Modern socio-economic development during last decades has witnessed fundamental shifts in production of not only numerous new products and consumer goods, but also growth of various services’ structures, which in some countries even outperform material production. Suffice it to say that services’ activities organized around high-technology industries and ICT sectors only have dominated in a separate and influential part of general cultural goods and services. For example, cinema, television, fashion, music, publishing, as well as video games, architecture, art, poetry, fashion and entertainment, etc. already turned into acknowledged sectors of industrial-type “cultural products”.
In the history of capitalism (as well as the later socialism), economy and culture have been considered as two rather distinct and often incompatible aspects of development and growth. There were even “comparisons” between the “industrial cities”, like Manchester and that of the “cultural cities”, like Florence or even Rome and Paris. However, disjunctions between economy and culture were quickly disappearing in time, giving room to closer liaison with different types of connections, such as design, advertising, company’s brands and other “intellectual products”.
There are even some special magazines on the issues, such as “Cultural trends” and “Journal of cultural economy”.
As to the economic side, only about 5 percent of households’ expenses in most developed countries is used for the so-called “cultural activities”; for example in the EU-27 the share of cultural economy is hardly about 3 percent, compared to about 4 percent in the US and about 6 percent in the UK and Japan.
Source: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00343401003732639.

Thus, it is well-worth for social scientists and the EU integration to analyse social, economic and political issues in the EU-wide “balance” of art and culture, as well as in some sub-regions like the Baltic States. There are multiple connections and interchangeable facets in such an analysis, which would ultimately lead to important outcomes in finding approaches and ideas to evaluate culture and economics’ impetus a sort of “joint paradigm” in the nation’s wellbeing.

More on “cultural history” in a pioneering work by T. Adorno and M. Horkheimer “Cultural Industry” published by Routledge/London in 1972: https://sites.evergreen.edu/arunchandra/wp-content/uploads/sites/395/2018/07/hork.pdf. Besides, an interesting work on cultural aspects in urban economic development in: https://www.wien.gv.at/meu/fdb/pdf/intern-vergleichsstudie-ci-959-ma27.pdf

In the European context, the European Commission and European Investment Fund announced in July 2020 some new support measures for businesses, small public enterprises and SMEs under the € 251million “Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility”, so-called CCS GF. Enhanced guarantee terms under the CCS GF were issued for the benefit of over 2,500 businesses active in the cultural and creative sectors mostly impacted by the pandemic.
New measures were accessible to existing financial intermediaries already working with EIF as well as new providers; existing financial intermediaries could have access to the CCS GF-support without having to submit new application, while new financial intermediaries were to file an application via the open call for expression of interest available on EIF’s website.
Presently, the EIF has made available €1.55 bn of debt financing for cultural creative sectors, CCSs and has supported over 2 thousand enterprises in the cultural and creative sectors in EU-27, providing valuable support across a wide range of the cultural and creative sub-sectors including – news media, audiovisual, design, visual arts, music, architecture, etc.
More on the cultural sectors’ support in: https://www.eif.org/news_centre/audiovisual_library/index.htm

Recent initiatives are part of the Commission’s commitment adopted in March 2020 to bring immediate relief to hard-hit enterprises and is part of the package of measures announced by the EIB Group to rapidly mobilise support for Europe’s SMEs and mid-caps. The Commission and the EIB Group continue to work on additional measures using all available at their disposal tools to help addressing economic consequences of the cultural sector in post-pandemic.

Note: The European Investment Fund, EIF is part of the European Investment Bank group; its main mission is to support European micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.
Thus, the EU Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility and Creative Europe program were set up with a valuable support by the Investment Plan for Europe. The Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility is the first EU financial instrument specialised on the support of the cultural and creative sectors and covering a wide range of cultural and creative sub-sectors.

During 2014-2020, the Creative Europe represented a 7-year program with a budget of €1.46 billion; the Creative Europe’s objective is to promote cultural diversity, encourage the circulation of European culture and creativity and strengthen the competitiveness of the cultural and creative sectors.
Additional information in: https://www.eif.org/what_we_do/guarantees/cultural_creative_sectors_guarantee_facility/index.htm; European Coordinated Response on Coronavirus; and EIB Website

Cultural economy in modern times represents a novel opportunity to stimulate job creation, socio-economic development on national, regional and even global level. Both researchers and politicians often underline the cultural economy’s ability to “activate” urban, industrial and manufacturing dynamism. This specific part of national economy has undoubtedly fantastic abilities and potentials to recreate social life in the cities and social communities, as well as provide for new impetus to a sustainable development.
However, additional attention shall be given to such issues as complex “regional cultural ecology”, and/or ways the “cultural actors” create and develop their own cultural economy’s global/regional value chains.
More in a special issue of “Regional studies” devoted to cultural economy’s aspects: https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/cres20.

 

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