Artists’ Jobs Aren’t Jobs? Will the Real Conservatives Please Stand Up?

Interesting reading at the Create Digital Music website by Peter Kirn

While I’m discussing the potential to take new directions in the arts and technology worldwide, and about ways in which creative technology can help repair the global economy, I’d be remiss if I didn’t make one sobering concession:

To many policy makers, the “arts” don’t count as the economy. If you’re employed as an artist, (and by extension in creative fields), you’re not a worker. Um… thanks?

Never mind that in the US alone, nearly 6 million people are employed in the arts – or that that figure itself is  probably wildly conservative, compared to the many more creative freelancers and the economies around them. (Ask companies like Yamaha, Roland, Korg, Avid, and Apple, who then sell products to musicians, many of them pros.)

It’s not just a US problem, either. The Dutch government – just the kind of liberal European government decried by American conservatives – had to be convinced of the value of its music technology research center in 2008.

To me, this shouldn’t be an issue that pits liberals versus conservatives. In fact, important issues around the economy have always been solved by cooperation between people of different political persuasions and parties. Unfortunately, conservatives have decided to declare the arts “liberal.”

The Heritage Foundationclaims funding for the arts amounts to “pork.” Leading Republican Jeff Flake, when asked for an example of pork in the current proposed economic stimulus bill, replies:

“For example, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts,” Flake says. “There’s no better example than that. How that stimulates the economy, I don’t know.”

...for the rest of the piece…

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