Friday, September 17, 2010

If People Truly Value the Arts Why the Need for Government Arts Funding?

Britain's National Campaign for the Arts has launched its "I Value the Arts" initiative. Its goal is to organize members of the general public to lobby against cuts in government arts subsidies. The initiative's website calls for interested parties to "show decision makers that the arts are vital and valued."

Such initiatives beg the question, if the arts are truly vital and valued, why are people not willing to pay for aesthetic experiences themselves? Why do they insist, instead, on government subsidies? People are willing to pay for what is truly vital to them and allocate spending toward whatever they value the most. If they are unwilling to pay for artistic experiences, that demonstrates that they value them less than whatever they actually purchase. Could it be, perhaps, that those supporting the government arts funding initiative are truly saying I value the arts so much I want someone else to pay for it?


  1. Have you thought, as a free-market economist, that the reason people do not value the arts is the influence of socialism that leads people to value violence and aggression in art (“jail the politicians”) rather than more serious and personal themes.

  2. I think that is a very important contributing factor. For art to matter in a positive way, it needs to seriously(that is not to say dourly) communicate in a meaningful way, not merely be trendily transgressive.