Sun, Aug 26, 2007 - Page 8 News List

In creativity, size doesn't matter

By Louis Chen 陳春山

Last December, the Chinese People's Press published the first volume of The Rise of China, and CCTV broadcast a documentary of the same title. In China and abroad this has attracted some attention and given rise to various interpretations and concern that this is a first sign of a surge in Chinese nationalism. The national power and insights the book talks about mostly have to do with economic and military growth and decline, rather than providing an explanation of the culture or the political system. In the 21st century, with countries striving for international peace and creating a global civilization, this account seems somewhat unsuitable.

In the last 10 years, China and India have consolidated themselves as fast growing economies, but when it comes to education, health, the environment and human rights, small countries take the lead. Over the next 10 years, it might still be the small countries that are rising.

According to a study on happiness by the University of Leicester, the 10 happiest countries include Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Iceland and other countries with relatively small populations.

The UN calculates the Human Development Index (HDI) of various countries according to their life expectancy, level of knowledge and standard of living.

In the 2006 Human Development Report (HDR), Norway, Iceland and Ireland are among the top countries on the list.

Some of the most globalized countries are small countries like Singapore, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark. Small countries and territories like Singapore, New Zealand and Hong Kong rank among the highest in ease of doing business, according to a recent report by the International Finance Corp (IFC).

Compared with China and India, Taiwan is a small country, but it is significantly larger than small countries like Singapore and is similar in size to Denmark and Switzerland.

Small countries are doing well: Their populations are happy, healthy, creative, and long-lived. So should Taiwan take the big countries as its example, or the small countries?

Key to the rise of small countries has been the establishment of a globalized, diverse and open society of knowledge and creativity. Taiwan should emulate the examples of Ireland, Denmark and Singapore and benefit from globalization. Research shows that the more a country's economy globalizes, the more it grows and the higher the income of its people.

Most of the top 10 countries in the 2005 Globalization Index are small countries like Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Switzerland. This index includes factors like economic openness and basic economic construction. Small countries have fast globalization, effective external communication abilities and high aspirations, becoming more and more globalized and gaining more and more benefits. With this in mind, Taiwan's policies for development should concentrate on opening up to globalization, and creating a globalized society with Taiwanese characteristics.

An economy of creativity is the most important type of economy in the 21st century. Taiwan has a diverse culture and a climate of unlimited creativity. It should study examples like Ireland and the Boston area in the US and establish a social framework for creativity, to let Taiwan develop a unique position and advantages.

This framework includes three things: First, a good framework for creative industry, like im-proved financial systems, higher budgets for research and related organizations. Second, a general creative operation models, including creative work environments and flexible production methods. Third, a geographical, cultural and social environment that gives full play to creativity.

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