The Creative Economy
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      A creative economy garners a plethora of activities where mind is the main driving-engine that adds value through its creative virtue to the journey called life. When considering the realm of such a creative economy, it becomes blatantly clear that industry, trade, finance, even services do not factor into the equation. This specific field concerns itself with the application of creativity in ways intended to enhance the quality of life by acting as a catalyst in accelerating economic flux while tending to our daily hedonistic pleasures. The very field of creative economy is allied to the communication, marketing, advertising, cine- matography, design, and all other derivative indus- tries. The World Bank estimates revenues for Lebanon from the communication industry to be worth an annual $5 billion a hefty plus to our GNP. Especially if you consider the amounts generated by the Lebanese workforce in the Gulf who send part of their income through remittances back to Lebanon. However the creative economy applies to many other fields genera- ting equally substantial revenues.

      When considering the fields of architecture and decoration, one would not be surprised to learn that Lebanese talents have stretched to the Arab world, Europe, and quite recently China.

      A case in point is a recent bilateral negotiation deal that saw a group of Lebanese engineers sharing their know-how with the Municipality of Ningbo in China, for a vast architectural expansion plan. I was one of the individuals present at that meeting, which saw our agency assigned the role of communicating this project worldwide. The consortium that we repre- sented featured a mix of Lebanese belonging to several, otherwise conflicting communities, which so happen to have set those differences temporarily aside in the name of a purely national common conscience. To the Chinese, we must have come across as a united and strong-willed people whose vision offers a wealth of benefits to the Lebanese economy.

      The wealth and productivity generated by architec- ture and decoration can be phenomenal as both produce a virtuous cycle of activities related to their fields. The nature of such creations related to furni- ture, decorative objects, woodworks, fabrics, sculp- tures in all variations, and paintings, to name a few, call for the joint efforts of a vast array of experts and craftsmen.

      The vertical collaboration in a particular field can create incentives that improve the quality of life of those involved as well as raise other credible contri- butors to our GNP.

      Let us now discuss design in all its applications; a field that has been instrumental in job creation for creative Lebanese.

      Design includes jewellery, accessories, and furniture – sectors that have all witnessed a boom in the last ten years. These products are promoted in the majority of specialized international magazines and are on display at prestigious showrooms the world over.

      Yet of those mentioned, few can compare to the dazzling haute-couture dresses created by our now world-renowned fashion designers. Prime examples are Elie Saab designs for Hollywood’s most coveted red-carpet events. Another fashion talent soon to gain recognition is Rabih Kayrouz. Saab and Kayrouz are just two examples that reflect the many young compe-

      titive and talented stylists who soon enough will reach similar success. Backed by such creativity, a modera- tely sized industry is growing as unique signature-clo- thing lines are created, manufactured, and exported from Lebanon to major fashion cities. Ironically, we have no idea of the extent such valuable contributions add to our GNP!

      Though the term, ‘ignorance is bliss’ may be fine in several cases, it definitely does not apply here as igno- rance of this magnitude is dumbfounding as well as detrimental to our national growth. In our survey of the creative sector, we should not forget the music industry, which holds outstanding regional clout. The creations of talented voices, the guidance of impre- sarios, the sensibilities of composers, the depth of writers, the tunes of musicians, and the expertise of technicians, continue to bring joy and wonder to those fortunate to take part in such work. With movie music scores and the video-clip industry in full swing, it is no wonder that our young shining stars are adding value to our national wealth.

      And what about catering? The sophisticated taste our Chefs spread has become one of the main ingredients to the success of any major event staged throughout the Middle East. Our joyous spirit, festive mood, know- how, and mouth-watering cuisine have become synonymous with this dynamic industry, which mind you did not exist ten years ago.

      Creativity of this calibre, which springs from Lebanese individuals from all walks of life, communicates a precious kind of wealth free of religious, political, cultural or geographical distinctions.

      As we noted in Part 2, it is the symbiotic power of our diverse cultures that generates such creativity, inspiring, human, dynamic, and above all enlighte- ned ventures.

      These factors give more credence to the central role that a creative economy plays in the awakening of a National Conscience. It represents the collective- sum that we as a people take pride in translating into tangible and accessible wealth. Appealing to both the heart and mind, it is quintessentially federative.

      To guarantee the benefits such contributions have on our economy and its growth, CAGI will request the formation of a Ministry of Creativity, so that this sector receives the backing it rightfully deserves.

      From a federative perspective, such a ministry can easily become the champion and heralding force for creativity, backed by enlightening and constructivelegislation. With grants for emerging young talents, awards for the best creative ventures, and most im- portantly, job creation for students pursuing a career in the arts, architecture, design and communication – this young creative industry will prosper.

      The creation of schools and universities offering these majors in locations all across Lebanon will go a long way in terms of fresh opportunities to young talents

      – irrespective of their affiliations. Such a plan will rein- force the real cultural benefits available as well as strengthen the symbiotic connections once and for all.

      The sum of the creative industry will be CAGI’s best ally in its effort as a prime influencer. The creative industry will contribute to the creation and communication of content through TV shows, radio programs, live inte- ractive dialogues and an array of similar activities ne- cessary for this kind of field. Such a strategy, discussed in Part 2, will be based on 10 behavior-changing ideas.

      Through the four cardinal milestones – WATER, AIR, EARTH and MAN – a vast economic program has been unveiled. The elaborate five-year plan centered on building a hydroelectric infrastructure will guarantee our present and future power needs, further bolste- red by the creation of vast high altitude solar panel farms. As a result, we will be free from fossil fuel dependence precisely at a time when such a resource is running out. We will also have ‘sanitized’ our envi- ronment and initiated a reforestation program meant to improve our quality of life.

      Furthermore, we will have decentralized the Nation to allow for Lebanon’s regions to prosper at an equal measure.

      With the new railroad network in place, we will have shortened commuting times, and relieved urban congestion, turning Lebanon into a beehive where each village, agglomeration, city, casa, and mohafaza is able to achieve prosperity and growth. Powered by our people’s IQs, we will also have encouraged investments in the hi-tech industry so as to regain our intellectual edge. Finally we will have created the environment needed to blossom and export our creativity.

      The purpose behind all this is to develop our economy through a shared conscience of common interests capable of creating a new language for the Nation. At the heart of the matter, rests a far more ambitious and challenging task, the creation of a true National Conscience. At this point, I put forth the question to all of you, “Are your fears and sectarian instincts still blinding you from seeing the bigger picture?”

      Consider this: the reasoning that introduced and demonstrated the feasibility of creating the vast hy- droelectric project, falls under the same reasoning that paves the way to the successful implementation of all other projects.

      I am certain that the undeniable benefits that would spring to life from the initial success of the first project will ensure a cascading-effect on the launch of all the other projects discussed. Once that outcome is felt, and therefore made real, all participants will be au- tomatically encouraged to push for more, thereby turning the dream of a National Conscience into an ineluctable living and breathing reality. These ideas represent some of the many visions designed to enhance growth within a federative framework. Keep in mind that the class-10 ideas contained in this book are primarily based on everyone’s participation, which once achieved, will move all of us closer to winning the ‘Bet’.

      The other innovation this book proposes is that CAGI will be responsible for re-invigorating and mobilizing public opinion around the ‘Vision’.

      With the groundwork set, we move on to Part 5, which outlines an Action Plan and its timetable.

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