【編者的話】數位時代的文化商機

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2002 / 11月

文‧王瑩



假如說二十一世紀有什麼可預測的趨勢,那就是全面e化。不管你喜歡或不喜歡,e世界將以沛然莫之能禦的速度,主導主流世界的資訊取得、工作模式與消費文化走向,影響我們每一個人的生活。近年來全球傳染病似的不景氣現象,與資訊時代經濟型態的改變絕對脫不了關係──資訊密集產業的大量增加、人力需求、成本、價格與市場結構的改變,在在影響著全球經濟舞台。所謂「順我者昌,逆我者亡」也!但毋庸擔心,不要悲觀,因為數位時代正在漸次成形並邁向成熟,其中商機無限,把握住趨勢的人,將是當然的贏家。

正因為數位經濟是大勢所趨,其影響力的廣泛被及國家經濟成長所繫的投資行為、生產力、國際貨幣政策、通膨等等,這都不是個人或企業所能掌握甚或是理解的,尤其在此遊戲規則尚未穩定的混沌時期,國家與政策所扮演的領導角色將是決勝的關鍵。

這兩年來,台灣經濟景氣一直是全體國民最為關心的議題。其實,近年景氣之低靡並非台灣獨有的現象,在全球新經濟型態的磨合變化時期,許多曾經締造經濟奇蹟的國家、地區,也都失去了當年的競爭力,正在尋找新的利基。遠的不說,就以身邊的鄰國而言,曾側身於世界經濟七強的唯一亞洲國家日本,景氣閃綠燈已近十年,就是最佳說明;而同為亞洲小龍的香港,房地產縮水將近三分之二,遠比台灣蕭條。

當然,今天並非大家來比慘況,以阿Q式的精神勝利法來自我安慰,這裡只是陳述一個事實,並且嚴肅看待這個現象以尋求對策。很顯然地,七、八○年代因為土地成本低廉、勞力密集,或是大量運用包括關稅及非關稅保護、低利貸款資金等政府資源而取得經濟優勢的國家,在全球化經濟逐漸成形的資訊時代,都會遭逢開發較遲、尚具以上優勢地區的重大衝擊。那麼,與其緬懷過去的榮景怨天尤人,不如正視眼前的商機與個別的特色而再塑新的利基。

幸運的是,雖然台灣早年以製造業 OEM起家,值此數位經濟、知識掛帥的二十一世紀破曉時分,身為觸角遠播的華人移民社會,又曾經過西洋、日本、大陸多省文化的衝擊與融合,再加上華人重視子女教育的傳統,以及近年來高度民主帶來百花齊放的社會風氣,台灣在歷史與傳統文化的富饒土壤上,找到了生根的力量,也因此充滿知識經濟最難以取代的創意。

這期的封面專題「後資訊時代新星──數位內容產業發燒」,便為讀者剖析,台灣下一波產業明星主角,以層出不窮的創意與五花八門的豐富內容取勝的數位產業,而打造企業大環境的政府將如何充份結合深具潛力的文化產業共創商機,讓台灣在數位時代的大華文市場中以智慧做出貢獻,以內涵創造市場,取得新經濟優勢。

以跨文化溝通為繪畫主題、被尊為藝術文化大使的旅美畫家陳錦芳,多年前便提出一個觀念,即台灣就像十六世紀的義大利佛羅倫斯,深具人類文藝復興的條件。如前所提,台灣以一華夏文化邊緣上的蕞爾小島,在歷史的偶然或是不可知的必然下,融合了南島民族海洋文化、納入滿蒙精神的明清統治、基督教士帶來歐洲文明、綜合了漢唐與獨特的大和經驗,以及五四之後的現代中國各省常民文化,如此難得的文化震盪使得台灣在解嚴後資訊爆炸,無論新聞、出版、影視、動畫、遊戲各個領域都呈現多元多彩的繽紛景象,近年來結合台灣創意與大陸市場、人才的流行音樂與影視工業,更是佳績頻傳,後市看好。

更令人期待的,則是未來的教育市場。資訊與知識的全面e化,將使知識的深耕與廣備兼而有之,遠距教學的普及與語文應用教學的多元,將使教育無國界,而文化藝術、生態環保與觀光娛樂的結合,將使我們的生活品質提昇,因為無所不在的人文教育大環境會讓我們珍惜當下所有,而未來的數位文化產業必然是各路英雄會師的產業大聯盟,合作的利益必然高過衝突。

曾經讓二十世紀經濟型態遭受嚴厲挑戰的數位時代,會不會帶來理想國的降臨?且讓我們拭目以待。  

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EN

[Editor's Note] Cultural Opportunities in the E-Era

Anna Wang /tr. by Phil Newell


If there is one trend that can be predicted for certain in the 21st century, it is that the world will become more and more "e-ified." Whether you like it or not, the e-world will transform the way we acquire information, work, and shop, and affect the lives of every individual. The recent spread of bad economic times around the globe, like the spread of a plague, cannot be divorced from the changing information-era economic model. The dramatic increase in information-intensive industry, and changes in manpower demand, costs, price and market structure all influence the global economic stage. As is said: "Go along and you succeed, resistance is futile!" But there's no need for pessimism, because the digital age is approaching maturity, and there are endless business opportunities. Those who grasp the trends will naturally be the winners.

Because the digital economy is the trend, and it affects all elements of national economic growth-investment behavior, productivity, human resources, currency policy, inflation-and these are things that businesses cannot control (or even understand), especially in this murky era when the rules of the game are unclear, the role played by the government is critical.

Over the last two years the poor performance of the economy has had Taiwanese worried. But this phenomenon is not restricted to Taiwan, and many countries that have created economic miracles are losing their competitiveness and looking for new sources of profits. One example from close at hand is Japan, the only Asian country in the G7, whose economy has been on the skids for nearly ten years now. And in Hong Kong, a "little dragon" like Taiwan, property values have fallen by two-thirds, even worse than in Taiwan.

The point is not to feel better about ourselves by noting that others are even worse off. I just want to point to a fact and rigorously look at the situation to seek a solution. Obviously, those countries that had economic advantages in the 1970s and 1980s as a result of low land and labor costs and favorable government aid to industry now find, amidst the global transformation of the information age, that even later developing countries now enjoy those advantages over them. Rather than be nostalgic about the past, it is better to assess one's own strengths and create new sources of profit.

Fortunately Taiwan has a lot going for it in terms of creativity for the knowledge-based economy: It has many connections in the far-flung world Chinese community. It has been impacted by and combines the cultures of the West, Japan, and the many provinces of China. Chinese people strongly emphasize education for their children. And in recent years a high level of political democratization has created a flowering of diversity.

This month's cover story, "The New Star of the Post-Information Age-Digital Content," analyzes the digital content industry, which is expected to be one of the next wave of key industries in Taiwan. It is an industry which requires unlimited creativity and rich content to come out on top. We also look at what steps the government is taking to utilize local cultural assets to create business opportunities, to make a knowledge-based contribution to the digital-era Chinese language market.

Many years ago the painter Chen Chin-fang, now living in the US, opined that Taiwan enjoyed conditions for a cultural renaissance, like those in Florence, Italy in the 16th century. As an island on the periphery of Chinese culture, Taiwan combines its Austronesian origins with the spirit of Ming and Qing dynasty China, and with European culture as introduced by Christian missionaries, creating a unique melting pot of Chinese and Western. When you add in the popular cultures from many provinces from modern China of the post-May 4 era, the result is that Taiwan has had an information explosion since the lifting of martial law, with all forms of media showing amazing pluralism and diversity. In recent years Taiwan's creativity has been harnessed to the mainland market and with mainland talent, producing successes in the realms of popular music and film.

One looks forward even more to the future education market. The complete e-ification of information will give both greater depth and dispersion to knowledge. Distance learning and language instruction will become common, so that education will know no national boundaries. Meanwhile, the combination of culture and the arts, environmental protection, and the tourism and entertainment industries, will raise the quality of life. The land and air will no longer be sacrificed to economic prosperity, because the omnipresence of a humanistic education will make us appreciate what we have now. The digital cultural industries of the future will inevitably be an alliance among the great masters from all walks of life, and the benefits of cooperation will far outweigh those of conflict.

Will the information era, which dealt a blow to the 20th century economic structure, bring us closer to Utopia? We'll just have to wait and see.

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