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Economic Development, Enlightenment and Creative transformation: Creative Industries in the New China


  • Justin O’Connor

    (Queensland University of Technology)


This paper examines some of the implications for China of the creative industries agenda as drawn by some recent commentators. The creative industries have been seen by many commentators as essential if China is to move from an imitative low-value economy to an innovative high value one. Some suggest that this trajectory is impossible without a full transition to liberal capitalism and democracy - not just removing censorship but instituting ‘enlightenment values’. Others suggest that the development of the creative industries themselves will promote social and political change. The paper suggests that the creative industries takes certain elements of a prior cultural industries concept and links it to a new kind of economic development agenda. Though this agenda presents problems for the Chinese government it does not in itself imply the kind of radical democratic political change with which these commentators associate it. In the form in which the creative industries are presented ––as part of an informational economy rather than as a cultural politics–– it can be accommodated by a Chinese regime doing ‘business as usual’.

Suggested Citation

  • Justin O’Connor, 2011. "Economic Development, Enlightenment and Creative transformation: Creative Industries in the New China," EKONOMIAZ. Revista vasca de Economía, Gobierno Vasco / Eusko Jaurlaritza / Basque Government, vol. 78(03), pages 108-125.
  • Handle: RePEc:ekz:ekonoz:2011310

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jason Potts & Stuart Cunningham, 2010. "Four models of the creative industries," Revue d'économie politique, Dalloz, vol. 120(1), pages 163-180.
    2. Jason Potts & Stuart Cunningham & John Hartley & Paul Ormerod, 2008. "Social network markets: a new definition of the creative industries," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 32(3), pages 167-185, September.
    3. Huang,Yasheng, 2008. "Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521898102.
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    More about this item


    creative creative industries; cultural industries; China consumption; entrepreneurship; modernity;

    JEL classification:

    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature


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