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Culture & arts as knowledge resources towards sustainability for identity of nations and cognitive richness of human being

Listed author(s):
  • Luciano PILOTTI


The main purpose of this article is to examine the consequences of using cultural resources (in its manifold appearances) to describe the knowledge dynamics of economic systems. The focus is on the ability of economic growth to guarantee sustainable use of arts or cultural resources as knowledge resources. A dynamic optimization technique is used as the standard theory of optimal control. Everybody knows that economists have used, and often still use, the terms economic growth and economic development often in the same way. The analysis of the models proposed here is based, firstly, on the following distinction as a basic convention between two concepts: economic growth and economic development. This convention gives us a better view of the different weight that the knowledge of arts takes on with respect to the economic dynamic and how this in turn influences the architecture of models. Both hypotheses and the results depend on the specific perspective from which authors have analyzed the problem. In a first case the focus is on a concept of economic progress in which collective well-being is directly linked to increases in income, that is to the quantity of goods (for consumption and investment) available to agents (consumers and enterprises) following growth in productivity: a case of sustainable economic growth, it means the possibility that wealth (and hence consumption) is able to increase steadily over time. Sustainable development, on the other hand, means the whole range of structural, economic, socio-cultural and institutional changes accompanying growth. A case of economic progress it could be seen as a synonymous for a better quality of life, that is not only as growth in GNP: it does involve growth in income, but what is more important are often non-economic variables like the cultural resources governance which generate services and functions contributing directly and indirectly to individual and collective well-being, as well as supplying the factors necessary to support productivity as creativity, innovative form of organizations, sense making, new tastes and preferences. In this way sustainability becomes synonymous of an economic process which does not change the basic functions of ecosystems. Sustainable development also as sustainability of cultural resources means an increase over time of a better quality of life as better knowledge of ourselves. The cultural and art resources as a rich component of environment, in all aspects, must (and can) "support" this notion of the economic system, enabling it to live and grow. The conventional distinction between growth and development leads to different approaches of which we analyses some details. To conclude, the debate on sustainability allows one to compare different ethical principles. Eco-economists and art-economist claim that the emphasis must be placed on the system's needs, rather than individual ones. This implies an ethical judgment on the role and rights of individuals living today as regards survival of the system and future generations' welfare. Moreover, given that individual behavior is driven by egoistic motivations, supporters of sustainability examine how such behavior can be modified and how such modifications can be achieved. Generally speaking quality and wealth should not trade off but an "open approach" is required also adopting self-sustainability category overall for cultural resources as a part of complexity of environment system resources

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2004-11.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2004
Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2004-11
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  1. John, A & Pecchenino, R, 1994. "An Overlapping Generations Model of Growth and the Environment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1393-1410, November.
  2. Edward Barbier, 1999. "Endogenous Growth and Natural Resource Scarcity," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(1), pages 51-74, July.
  3. Hartwick, John M, 1977. "Intergenerational Equity and the Investing of Rents from Exhaustible Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(5), pages 972-974, December.
  4. Howarth, Richard B., 1991. "Intergenerational competitive equilibria under technological uncertainty and an exhaustible resource constraint," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 225-243, November.
  5. Asako, Kazumi, 1980. "Economic growth and environmental pollution under the max-min principle," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 157-183, September.
  6. Tahvonen, Olli & Kuuluvainen, Jari, 1991. "Optimal growth with renewable resources and pollution," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(2-3), pages 650-661, April.
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