Cultural Economist &

Compiler Press

Tang Yin (1470-1523)



















Strategy of the Three Mountains

Welcome to the future!  It has been a long, difficult and often twisted road traveled by those still living and the many more long since dead.   The roadside is littered with the skeletons of now defunct human cultures and civilizations.  In this century alone we have passed through two 'hot' world wars, one cold one and witnessed the rise and fall of empires - aristocratic, colonial, communist, fascist and national socialist. What have we learned?  In his anti-utopian novel 1984, George Orwell noted:

he who controls the present controls the past,
 he who controls the past controls the future!

In more gender neutral terms: revisionism is a constant. With respect to human culture, time is thus relative.  Confronted by an emerging global knowledge-based economy, human cultural evolution is speeding up.  In theistically neutral terms: welcome to the third millennium of the Common Era (CE).

In the sixth century before the Common Era, the Chinese sage Sun Tzu suggested in his classic The Art of War that a battle may be won before it is fought through a clear understanding of the terrain.  The terrain of a knowledge-based economy is dominated by three glacier-clad mountains.  These rise up from the valleys and lowlands of daily life to peak in organizations usually called national academies, cultural institutions, laboratories, universities and colleges.

It is in these artistic, cultural and scientific 'ivory-towers' that most knowledge is created, collected, compiled, conserved and/or coalesced into a nation's stock of knowledge capital.  From these icy peaks rivers and streams of knowledge flow down winding circuitous paths or through channels deeply chiseled into the historical bedrock of each nation-state. In the valleys and lowlands these waters merge, mingle and mix to irrigate all sectors of a nation's economy.  

The names of the three mountains vary from country to country, even within the English-speaking world.  In Canada, they are called: the Natural & Engineering Sciences (NES); the Social Sciences & Humanities (SSH); and the Arts.  They are the bedrock of, and provide the building blocks for, a knowledge-based economy.  'Pure research' (including art-for-art's-sake) forms the bedrock; reasoned application of research findings forms the building blocks (see: 1.1 Knowledge-Based Economy).  It is in this sense that the word 'technology' derives from the ancient Greek 'techne' meaning art and 'logos' meaning reason, that is 'reasoned art'.  Using this definition, there are three forms of human technology:

  • physical technology flowing from the Natural & Engineering Sciences;

  • organizational technology flowing from the Social Sciences & Humanities; and,

  • aesthetic or design technology (or technology of the human heart as an emotional yet reasoning organ) flowing from the Arts.

Like the twin spirals and ladder of DNA these strands of knowledge intertwine and interact to determine the competitiveness of nations - today, tomorrow and well  into the 21st century (see: 1.2 Social Genetics of  Knowledge).  The relationship between, and the relative dominance of, the three strands changes and mutates over time.  Accordingly even contemporary dominance of the Natural & Engineering Sciences is increasingly contested.  Its results - physical technology - is straining the tolerances of many other spheres of human society - aesthetic (including the Green Movement), cultural, economic, moral, political and religious.  

The Government of the United States, for example, does not fund human fetal tissue research, not because of technological impossibility, but on moral and religious grounds.   The United States is, of course, not the only nation or culture to cut itself off from certain channels of NES research.  The medieval Chinese had ocean-going vessels that could have circumnavigated the globe.  Instead, a cultural decision was made to eliminate the technology.  Modern Islamic medical schools, including those of world-class standing, do not conduct cardio-vascular research using the 'standard' animal model of the 'secular' West - the pig.  More dramatically, in spite of the global triumph of democracy and/or market economics over Marxism (SSH products), organized ethnic cleansing continued for months in Kosovo beneath a thunderstorm of 'smart bombs' and the most sophisticated military technology (a product of NES) ever devised by a long suffering humanity.  

To the ancient Greeks, 'kosmos' (with a 'k') did not mean, as in Star Trek, 'out there where no one has gone before'.  Rather it meant "the right ordering of the multiple parts of the world".  Different cultures generally have a very different sense of 'the right ordering' of our little planet caught in its midnight black bejeweled setting of solar systems, stars and galaxies.  Where different 'kosmos' meet, tectonic clashes of cultures and civilizations occur.  The former Yugoslavia is an example.  Of the same Slavic 'race', speaking the same Serbo-Croatian language, its peoples have fought for centuries about which God of Love will rule their land - Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or Islamic (Sunnis and Shiite).  NES, even in the guise of military technology, cannot solve such deep rooted cultural problems.

Cultural identity and cultural sovereignty are becoming more important national policy objectives on the road to globalization.  This partially results from the erosion of economic and political sovereignty through membership in regional and global economic and military alliances such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, European Union, the World Trade Organization and NATO.  

This site is dedicated to the collection, compilation, cross-referencing, display and analysis of socio-economic evidence concerning this third strand of human knowledge - the Arts.  Art has the power to shape and change the hearts and minds of human beings. The Arts are, historically, the primary engine of culture.  They define our personal and social sense of beauty and of the right ordering of the multiple parts of the world.  Like NES and SSH, Art can be used for good or evil.  It is not summum bonum; it is not all good. The Nazi Reich was lubricated by the 'reasoned' manipulation of sounds, images and designs that still resonate in the hearts and minds of thousands, if not millions world-wide.  Socialist realism served the 'revolutionary' ends of Stalin and Mao.  More recently, the 'bull's eye' T-shirt was effectively used by the Serbian government as an iconic defense, broadcast on global television, against Nato bombing.  To paraphrase an old aphorism: Art is too important to be left to the artists!

This site provides a preliminary 'periodic table' of the Arts (see: 1.3 World Cultural Intelligence Framework), or, more specifically of the Arts Industry (see: 2.0 Arts Industry). The framework is used to organize archival material (see: 6.0 Archives) as well as  hyperlinks to other sites where detailed intelligence is provided for specific categories and sub-categories (see: 7.0 Links).  It will, in future, also provide an extensive research bibliography (7,000+ items) which currently exists  in a legacy format.  In this sense, the site is a 'net' as in a snare intended to catch evidence that can then be organized into intelligence, or 'understanding of value'.

The Preliminary Cultural Intelligence Framework consists of three sections:

  • Environment - composed of  9 categories of 'socio-scientific' evidence;

  • Law - composed of  8 categories of rules that govern the Arts in different countries and cultures; and,

  • Arts & Cultural Industries - composed of 28 segments of the Arts Industry (see: 2.1 The Widely Defined Arts & Cultural Industries)

It is obvious, at least to me, that my efforts alone will never complete the 'periodic table' of the Arts Industry - with respect to Web and/or in-print intelligence.  Accordingly, the contributions, criticisms and questions of academics, intellectuals and practioners of the Arts, from all the diverse cultural ecologies of Planet Earth, are warmly welcomed and badly needed (see: 8.2 Contributor's Credits & Code).  In this way, the site will become a 'network' linking the efforts of researchers world-wide.  Colleagues are invited to adopt, adapt, adjust and evolve the framework to serve the needs of their own countries and cultures.


One planet, One biosphere, One human race

Harry Hillman Chartrand
Cultural Economist &

Compiler Press

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