The economics of art is a perennial source of debate. Proponents of funding for the arts usually follow one of two arguments. The first is that art contributes intangibly to society by contributing a reason to live, as opposed to a way to live. The second is that art actually contributes tangibly to the greater economy through the hard work that many artists do for relatively little pay. In contrast, those who oppose funding for the arts argue that funding is waste of money, because valuable art will be able to survive economically on its own anyway: good artists will be in high demand, creating scarcity for their work, and hence ensuring them a commensurate level of income.
But art has never been a good fit to any monetary economy, because money was not really designed to handle art. (more…)