Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bringing people to the light

Why is capitalism portrayed as evil by many artists? Because its easy to suspend thought, much easier than thinking. Here are a couple of interesting views:


  1. As a poet/playwright/fiction writer myself, I think I can answer why artists tend to support socialism over capitalism. The artist is one who is in complete control of the world he creates. He is the orderer of the order of the world he creates. Being a creator himself, he believes that a creator is needed to create the order of the world at large. They are social world creationists.

    Novelists are very often more ambiguous in their economics, because novels are more likely to be influenced by any number of things, take on a life of its own, etc., that more closely resembles a spontaneous order.

    I'm a strange artist indeed in my belief in social order as self-organizing.

  2. That is certainly a possibility, artists often have a distorted view of their own self-worth.
    Once-upon-a-time artists were supported by patrons who commissioned various works tailor-made to curry the favour of patrons and ensure further commissions. That model collapsed when artists saw they could lobby the state, get funded, and produce works that have IMHO no redeeming qualities as described here:
    The patron-artist partnership between the state and the artists is an important reason why artists favour statism/socialism. Now artists need not curry of the favour of anyone, so they are free to produce the shit that was commissioned by the coercive state.

  3. There was a while when artists were supported by the market. It's been mostly sporadic. It still mostly occurs that way in the U.S. But artists seem to still dream about the "good old days" of patronage. They forget patronage came with strings. It did produce some great works, though. Restrictions are not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to art. Good rules make good art.

  4. "Good rules make good art." Agreed.
    The market is also full of "strings" - chief among them 'demand.'
    The coercive state is able to separate the supply of artistic works from the demand. That situation has helped create discordant music, "modern" art, and a variety of literary and theatrical works I wouldn't pay a nickel for.

  5. I do not doubt that artists like the government to take money away from people to pay them. It is not surprising that they would be socialists.

    Troy, you claim that art was supported by the market only sporadically. It is precisely the opposite: the welfare state is less than a century old, and even in the present there are many forms of art that are market supported (film, jazz, comic books, pop music in general), and they are booming because this is what consumers are supporting.

    To subsidize symphony concerts or modern art galleries that nobody visits is tantamount to telling people what they should like and force them to pay for it.

  6. Third payer always separates the producer from the consumer in ways that either drive up cost or drive down quality (or both)

  7. Rod,

    I'm talking about throughout history. Most American artists have been market supported; in Europe that was true mostly in the 19th and early century. Most artists throughout history have been supported by patrons of various sorts -- and thus were outside of the market economy proper. Someone receiving financial support from a patron is not really in quite the same situation as, say, William Faulkner, who had to work the occasional job while writing his novels.


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