Friday, June 20, 2014

The Economic Impact of Arts and Culture

                When I first started reading an article talking about the economic impact of arts and culture, I was surprised by how much the author viewed economics as taught by the one lesson – looking at the longer effects of any act or policy, and also tracing the consequences for all groups, not just one.  The article had me nodding my head in agreement, but by the end, I shouldn't have been surprised that the author went back to thinking of only one group.
            In the beginning, author Andy Vick made sure to point out that “a vibrant creative community can be a catalyst for economic vitality, a draw for tourism, and a meaningful way to increase quality of life for area residents.”  Thank goodness he said area residents, for an increase of tourism in one part of the country must mean that there are decreases around the rest of the country.  There are a limited number of people who can travel, and if they travel one place, they cannot visit another at the same time.  The increase quality of life for the area residents may mean a decrease in the quality of life for other residents elsewhere.
            Vick made sure to state that there are challenges within the community that will have “long-term implications for the future success of our entire economy”, and any sustainable solution will “likely have a number of different and complementary approaches”.  This sounds like a man who knows the one lesson.  But, as I said above, the one lesson seemed to vanish by the end of the article.  Vick states that we should increase our local investment in the arts. Sorry, Vick, but where would that money be coming from?  If we increase investment in the arts, we would have to decrease investment in another area.

            There are both good and bad results if people invested more into the arts.  Good results would be that more jobs could be created in regards to creating more buildings/using underutilized properties for new enterprises, and there could be an increase of tourism within the city, bringing more money to local restaurants and hotels.  Bad consequences could include that there is a decrease in investment within other areas, which could very well harm the economy and residents Vick wishes to help, and the jobs created from the investments would mean that there are less people working in the other areas, or there could be a lack of productivity.  Good and bad results can only be seen by someone who has been exposed and understands the one lesson of economics.

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