Britain is cutting arts funding.
I think this is a terrible idea in general. People visit Britain for its culture. (I still remember the banner across the British Museum the last time I was there: THE BEST DINOSAUR EXHIBITION IN 65 MILLION YEARS. And it was.) They certainly don't go for the climate.
Culture is not a luxury good the government should provide only in good economic times. It's a service industry like other service industries. It employs people. It promotes tourism. It sucks in dollars from overseas. Someone who spends a government-funded day at the Tate also buys a hotel room, a bunch of meals, some clothes on Kings Road, taxi rides, and perhaps an air ticket.
Conservatives complain about the annual budget of Telefilm Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts and the various music organizations and so forth. But those organizations have created the Jim Carreys and Celine Dions of the world, who get paid in American dollars and then pay Canadian taxes on them
. I think we get our money back.
Of course, culture also provides people with a feeling that they belong to a society, without which the whole place falls apart. Where would Quebec be without its movies and festivals and music? Maybe Canada doesn't have enough
arts funding for its somewhat fragile sense of itself? But that's an argument for another day...
Labels: Cancon, culture