1 hr 12 min

Markets, growth, and the arts The New Bazaar

    • Society & Culture

More than two decades ago, economist Tyler Cowen published "In Praise of Commercial Culture" -- his first in a series of books about the relationship between the economy and culture.
The book's thesis was simple, but at the time controversial -- that markets and commerce offer the best societal arrangement for promoting creativity and cultural novelty. The book was initially resisted by popular and academic presses and nearly didn't get published, threatening to undermine its own arguments.
In the book, Tyler argues that markets are not just good for artists themselves and how they make a living, but for the quality and the originality of their work. He responds to right-wing critics who argue that a culture rooted in the artistic creations of markets becomes too permissive, and to left-wing critics who say that the profit motive inherent to markets is bad for artistic purity and integrity. Tyler argues that if you really care about creativity – and about diverse groups having access to becoming creators and artists – then markets are better than previous systems based on patronage, or on the direction of the state or the church.
In his chat with Cardiff, Tyler revisits his original arguments, considering them anew to account for all that's happened in the time since the book was published in 2000. What have been the effects on creativity of the dominance of streaming, the ubiquity of smartphones, and more recently the rise of Tiktok and NFTs?
Also on the show: Why were the Medici overrated and rap musicians underrated? Does the easy reproducibility of historically significant artistic works, made possible by new technologies, threaten to cannibalize emergent artists? Is there a meaningful distinction between high-brow and low-brow art? Where has Hollywood gone wrong? How have sports, cooking, amateur photography and other domains of life become more artistic and creative in recent decades?
Finally, Tyler and Cardiff discuss why it can be seductive and easy to become cultural pessimists -- and why both nonetheless remain cultural optimists.
LINKS:
-- In Praise of Commercial Culture (Harvard University Press)
-- Marginal Revolution (Tyler's blog with Alex Tabarrok)


See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

More than two decades ago, economist Tyler Cowen published "In Praise of Commercial Culture" -- his first in a series of books about the relationship between the economy and culture.
The book's thesis was simple, but at the time controversial -- that markets and commerce offer the best societal arrangement for promoting creativity and cultural novelty. The book was initially resisted by popular and academic presses and nearly didn't get published, threatening to undermine its own arguments.
In the book, Tyler argues that markets are not just good for artists themselves and how they make a living, but for the quality and the originality of their work. He responds to right-wing critics who argue that a culture rooted in the artistic creations of markets becomes too permissive, and to left-wing critics who say that the profit motive inherent to markets is bad for artistic purity and integrity. Tyler argues that if you really care about creativity – and about diverse groups having access to becoming creators and artists – then markets are better than previous systems based on patronage, or on the direction of the state or the church.
In his chat with Cardiff, Tyler revisits his original arguments, considering them anew to account for all that's happened in the time since the book was published in 2000. What have been the effects on creativity of the dominance of streaming, the ubiquity of smartphones, and more recently the rise of Tiktok and NFTs?
Also on the show: Why were the Medici overrated and rap musicians underrated? Does the easy reproducibility of historically significant artistic works, made possible by new technologies, threaten to cannibalize emergent artists? Is there a meaningful distinction between high-brow and low-brow art? Where has Hollywood gone wrong? How have sports, cooking, amateur photography and other domains of life become more artistic and creative in recent decades?
Finally, Tyler and Cardiff discuss why it can be seductive and easy to become cultural pessimists -- and why both nonetheless remain cultural optimists.
LINKS:
-- In Praise of Commercial Culture (Harvard University Press)
-- Marginal Revolution (Tyler's blog with Alex Tabarrok)


See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

1 hr 12 min

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