MAIN CONNECTIONS BETWEEN CULTURAL AND CREATIVE ACTIVITIES AND THE SOCIO-ECONOMIC SPACE
The symbolic structure of a community has always played a relevant role in the configuration of the socio-economic space. However, this influence has become stronger over the past two decades. As the EU indicated in its Green Paper “Unlocking the potential of cultural and creative industries” (2010), factory floors are progressively being replaced by creative communities whose raw material is their ability to imagine, create and innovate. All formulations of the Knowledge or Information Society highlight the increasing importance and centrality of the symbolic dimension in social and economic relationships. However, this perception has become a cliché that lacks the complete and definitive evidence necessary to clearly explain the causes, the variables, the relationships between said variables and their consequences. The European Competitiveness Report 2010 indicates that creative industries, which are cultural sectors indeed, account for 3.3% of the total production of European Union (EU) measured in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, using the broader classification proposed by UNCTAD (2010), they reach 6.5% of the EU’s GDP. These figures are quite similar for the worldwide economy, in which creative industries generated $2,706 billion GDP in 2005 and exports of creative goods and services reached $424 billion, representing 6.1% of the world GDP and 3.4% of the total world trade (Howkins 2007; UNCTAD 2008). In addition, the creative industries sector has been one of the most dynamic in Europe, showing great growth potential and generating wealth for the countries and regions that host them. The report also mentions that between 2000 and 2007, employment in the creative industries grew by an average of 3.5% per annum, compared to 1% in the overall EU-27 economy. In the US and China, the creative industries also grew quickly, with employment growth rates of 1.8% and 1.9% per annum respectively.