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The link between cultural complexity and innovation

  • By Alan Knott-Craig
  • February 18, 2013

Prof Cesar Hidalgo of MIT recently argued that a country’s level of economic complexity (and therefore wealth) is linked to its cultural complexity. By cultural complexity, he means the variety of “humanities” in a country, ie: theatre, movies, games, music, art, writing, religion, restaurants, etc.


The theory goes that the reason America and France are amongst the world’s richest nations is that they have, amongst other things, a huge diversity of industries of the arts.


Whilst professionals in the “humanities” do not necessarily go on to become billionaires, the creativity they add to the economy is what fuels business innovation, leading to greater economic growth and wealth.