Nov 4, 2011

Money and art: should businesspeople run the creative space?

The common message from much of the social sciences is that the arts and culture are more than just industries exchanging goods and services. They are constitutive parts of our everyday life.

Ben Eltham — <em>Crikey</em> arts commentator

Ben Eltham

Crikey arts commentator

There was a boycott at Harvard the other day.

Yawn, you respond. Student boycotts, indeed. And yet, this was a boycott by economics students of Professor Greg Mankiw’s first-year economics class. Mankiw is a prominent centre-right columnist and commentator in the US, who occasionally advises leading Republican candidate Mitt Romney. He is also the author of one the most widely read introductory economics textbooks around the world.

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4 thoughts on “Money and art: should businesspeople run the creative space?

  1. scottyea

    Royalty & the wealthy have always been patrons of the arts.

    I do not want my government imitating royalty, do you?

    (I’m wrote this before reading the article, now I’m going to read it and see if I change my mind: )

    Spot on there about what passes for economics in universities, btw, but I’m utterly unconvinced there is any reason any of the arts should receive direct funding from Federal Government.

  2. Scott

    Never let a economist be the final answer on any cultural institution or business.

    Case in point – Victorian College of the Arts (

  3. Richard Letts

    The (I think) Deputy Chair of the Australia Council is quoted as saying something to the effect that the significance of the arts goes beyond economics.

    So I guess that’s something he found out during his tenure.

    The Chair and Deputy have for quite some years been business people. Their genuine interest is not in doubt but they probably haven’t been through the artistic fire.

    Ben, in a way, you also are making the value of the arts instrumental, in your case as a socialising force. I would say the fundamental value of the arts begins with the personal response and then extends into the social sphere because we respond together or collaborate together in making them. Somewhere down the road, there may or may not be a direct economic consequence.

  4. AR

    An excellent article, well worth expanding (for Luddites such as myself who can’t be doin’ with all that hyperlinky thang) into a Monthly or Quarterly essay.
    Now I shall trudge along to the library and hope that I can find those books mentioned.

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