Editoriale

Changes are afoot

di Tara Aesquivel

Changes are afoot

Changes are afoot politically: rising tides of nationalism and populism, stunning election results, and loads of analysis to decipher when and how these movements came to be. Months after the Brexit vote, Britain now considers the specific and practical realities of exiting the EU, as well as the governmental and economic effects. Likewise, in the United States, the Trump administration faces the practical challenges of governing a complex nation, a stark departure from the fluidity of making campaign promises. Trump’s administration—as well as many other conservative politicians over the past three decades—has publicly discussed the complete elimination of U.S. federal agencies that support arts and culture: the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which supports the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. Although U.S. federal support for the arts is quite small in comparison to many other Western countries, and although the combined budgets for these agencies is insignificant in relation to total U.S. spending, these threats are often successful in rallying support from conservatives who value limited government.

Leggi tutto

Gestire cultura

Quantifying Dance in a Capitalist Society

di Leslie Scott

The ongoing debate on the social value of art and culture has been with us for some decades now. In the United States, this debate has taken place mostly within the art world itself, and in related political and administrative circles. In the mainstream, writes economist Marilyn Warring, any economic movement has always been towards the “market.” That is, there continues to be the assumption that the only way in which work can be visible or valuable, is if you treat is as if it were a market commodity, or a market service you attribute value to. This underlying need to pass goods through the GDP makes the intangible performance art even more challenging to quantify. What is striking about the current debate is how the underlying assumption, that the added value of public expenditures on art and culture, is negative. For many, government support for the arts and culture is not considered a valuable investment for either economic or cultural development; rather, it is perceived as a leak in the economy. Any empirical evidence of a positive spin-off for culture or the economy is simply neglected. Perhaps one of the reasons why this assumption has remained unchallenged, is in fact rooted in attitudes within the art world itself: proponents of creative and artistic endeavors are reluctant to embrace the argument fully, since the dominant discourse is still based on an antagonistic relationship between culture and economy. Therefore there is an urgent need to open up the debate, in order to better understand the contemporary dynamics within the arts, the creative industries, and cultural policy.  As arts funding is at risk of shrinking from federal granting agencies, the question of arts valuation extends to two very differing camps regarding metrics: quantify so that value can be assigned and worth can be determined, this is a viable way of assessing funding opportunities. This approach believes in the quest for an infallible metric system, and while we might not be there yet, the holy grail does exist. And the latter, intrinsic value is both indefinable and ultimately damning.

Leggi tutto

Luoghi insoliti

When the Greeks Loved the Germans: The Political Economy of King’s Otto Reign

di George Tridimas

In 1832 Prince Otto Wittelsbach of Bavaria was appointed King of the newly founded independent Greek state. Otto’s reign was a momentous period for Greece, initially under Regency then under Otto as an absolute ruler and from 1843 as a constitutional monarch until his expulsion in 1862. Using the historical record the paper focuses on three political economy questions, namely, the rationale for the foundation of a state, which relates to the provision of public goods and rent distribution, the constitutional order of the state regarding the choice between monarchy or republic, and the emergence of democracy by revolution or evolution.

Leggi tutto