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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/11333/how-to-improve-the-culture/

How to Improve the Culture

December 28, 2009 by

The next time someone complains about what the market is doing to the culture, ask that person what he or she has done to enter the market and make a difference. FULL ARTICLE by Jeffrey Tucker

{ 12 comments }

Jill December 28, 2009 at 9:37 am

While reading this article, I considered that parents who choose to educate their child(ren) at home are, in their own small way, working to improve the culture.

Byzantine December 28, 2009 at 11:23 am

Worth repeating is the corrosive effect of monetary inflation and social democracy on the culture. The welfare state erects barriers to affordable family formation, a moneyed elite manipulates the popular culture to subsidize their cocooned existence, high time-preference is incentivized, etc.

David Johnson December 28, 2009 at 11:49 am

Historically fine art has been financed by the state (or the church/state), for the benefit of the aristocracy. “Vulgar”, “common” and “low class” refer to non-state art.

The problem today is that we’re in a transition from statism to freedom. More and more art is being produced by the free market, but it’s still hampered by the state. Our markets don’t produce much ballet and opera, because the government production of fine art has crowded it out.

Abhinandan Mallick December 28, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Perhaps I’ll take the opportunity to be the first to mention that I think mises.org and the mises institute themselves are a great example of cultural entrepreneurship! Seriously, I have gone from watching tv programs and playing videogames to reading and studying articles and books published here, never mind the mass of audio lectures I’ve listened to.

Indeed, I’ve even begun writing articles and papers myself as a consequence! Good work! ;-)

I have to admit though, I don’t think my taste in music would impress Jeffrey…

Logan December 28, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Let the existence of satellite radio, complete with two commercial-free classical stations and one commercial free opera station, serve as a stern rebuttal to those who claim that the market screws up culture unilaterally.

Lucas December 28, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Jeff, if you’re the kind of person that we call a snob, we need a lot more of your brand of snobbery.

Patrick Barron December 28, 2009 at 7:01 pm

I just cannot miss a Jeffery Tucker essay. Here in the Philadelphia area, Temple Public Radio (I know, I know…I do not like that fact that they get my tax dollars either.) plays classical music from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. and jazz from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. It is the only station to which I listen. For the life of me, I cannot grasp so-called popular music these days. Maybe it’s my age, but I really doubt that anyone will be humming today’s popular music in twenty years.

Michael E. Lawrence December 28, 2009 at 8:13 pm

Great comments, Jeffrey. Don’t forget the corrosive effects of public education. As a professional musician, I can look back and say without a doubt that the subject I dreaded the most in elementary school was music. We called it “pusic” when we were kids. We were taught nothing but dreck, and as far as the teachers were concerned, it was more important that the music teach us some sort of political agenda rather than that we actually learned about the art in question. How did I learn about good music? I learned it from private teachers who charged a reasonable fee for their services, and without them I would have been hopeless.

Kay McAfee December 29, 2009 at 8:53 am

It’s interesting that the two entrepreneurs who devoted themselves to classical training (dance and choir) for children were women who worked at what appeared to be substandard income and a willingness to toil in the trenches for very little compensation. Pop culture idealizes those who strike it rich quickly and with seemingly little effort, bypassing the “drudgery” of such as actually learning to read music or learning to draw. The training that results from the core requirements for expression in the arts last a lifetime. Youth, instant gratification, and short cuts not only don’t last, they are ephemeral and deceiving.

Jordan Bullock December 30, 2009 at 11:27 am

Is it safe to say that government interventions such as taxation, licensing, IP, etc, which all benefit the big and established at the expense of the new and niche, do more harm to the culture of society by making it more difficult to earn a profit doing anything other than appealing to the lowest common denominator?

Outside Observer December 30, 2009 at 1:37 pm

I studied what is customarily called “fine art”. I never considered the label totally accurate, but people understand it. We (art students) were taught that before we could successfully “break the rules” we had to master them. The paint splashed on canvases with no discipline or meaning that too often passes for “art” today is sad proof that our instructors were correct.

Dagnytg December 31, 2009 at 4:11 am

Excellent article as usual but I might make a few observations.

1) Most so-called classical art/music was at its time considered pop and looked down upon by the cultural elite of that period.

2) Though it may seem that pop musicians/artists “strike it rich” most have been working at it for many years with little reward…not to mention the many who don’t make it that we never hear about.

3) I didn’t know you had to go to music school to be a good musician or beauty school to be beautiful or art school to be an artist or basketball school to be…you get the idea.

4) As others noted, most classical music/art is subsidized by the state. This leads us to the conclusion (an ugly conclusion by some) that it is the wonderful free market along with the free spirit of entrepreneurs and artists that creates the pop culture we love to hate or love…but I think it was Mises who said, something to the effect, that being a consumer is the ultimate democratic act.

5) And as pointed out by others we have choices. We can listen to satellite radio or my choice-online radio (Pandora.com)… or like Abhinandan Mallick we can turn the TV off and choose to enlighten ourselves.

PS>Abhinandan, my music might not impress Jeffery either but this site is about freedom (from an Austrian perspective of economics) not a critique of the choices we make with that freedom.

PSS>There seems to be a trend (in some of the comments) that in order to be legitimate as an artist you have to prove that you have gone through a process and by doing so you are accepted. When ones sings and I find it pleasurable it does not matter how they attained that ability. I like it…others may not . For me the process is not important. It’s the outcome. “Man acts” is the foundation of the austrian school and when we act we produce an outcome. Only socialism concerns itself with the process.

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