So… another national opera company just became the second one this year whose Board of Directors has eliminated the position of “Artistic Director” to save money.
After all, they can probably get somebody’s cousin to do all that artistic stuff, and save on the salary. Maybe pay them by the hour. Or hire somebody from out of town, as a seasonal thing, so they don’t have to offer benefits or give them an office or anything. Maybe they can use that free office for extra storage space. Or heck, some of the board members could probably do all that artistic directing stuff themselves. I mean, how hard could it be?
So everybody wins! Is your profit margin slipping? Simply “restructure” your performing arts company to run like McDonalds or Walmart. Those stupid artsy-fartsy people need to stop sucking up all the money that should be going upstairs to executive management. Talent? Degrees? Decades of experience? BIG DEAL. You wanna design, or dance, or sing, just be glad you get paid ANYTHING for that.
Like medieval jesters and troubadours, traveling from castle to castle for scraps from the table of their betters. And maybe a place to sleep on the floor in the corner of the great hall. That worked for our forefathers, right?
It’s 2015. Forget artistic quality, just buy your ticket and shut up. The Board of Directors needs a new projector for their conference room.
/end Sarcasm Mode
Prosperity Economics strikes again.
But then, art and business have never been the coziest of bedfellows. Businessmen want to classify art as a “product,” whereas artists tends to classify their art as a “process.” The first is finite and eminently sellable; the second demands long term support and nurturing.
Under the crushing boot of capitalist Prosperity Economics— the false concept that growth is ALWAYS good and that HIGHER PROFITS always result in BETTER PRODUCT, the artists are the first to be squeezed out. When government accedes to the same line of thinking, expect the arts to suffer, because the agenda pushed by the incumbent government— although they always claim it will help “the little guy” (whose votes they require)— actually has nothing to do with anything other than growing the system.
Actually our entire economy is rooted in B.S. Our monetary system is based on the supposed hard value of a metal that isn’t actually all that rare since new mining techniques came into existence, one which can be artificially produced from seawater, and which has no practical applications except as a somewhat-decent electrical conductor in small portions. Oh, and it doesn’t rust, and it’s pretty. Meanwhile our highest-valued gemstone is actually a fairly common mineral (easily obtainable with modern mining techniques) which is only rare because several corporations buy it by the ton and store it, to keep it away from public markets. That mineral can be artificially created but it has a very small number of practical applications (industrial grinding and record player styli)—but in our financial system it’s more valuable, ounce for ounce, than almost anything else because, again, “it’s pretty.” Gold and diamonds, the basis for our whole monetary system— complete B.S. Yet, they have become our gods.
So Prosperity Economics— the only economic system in practical use today in our country— is built around one, great, unsustainable god-totem: the engine of growth. Our whole economy must grow (and consume in order to grow) or else it dies. THAT’S THE ONLY RULE, AND OUR ONLY PLAN. We speak of “recession” (lack of growth) with dread, because we don’t know what to do if the economy ever stops growing. It’s so bad now that we invent money that hasn’t even been created, earned, or generated and dump it into our system as credit “from the future” in order to keep the system expanding.
In the past hundred years, a group of parties has emerged that sits atop the system converting real value and capital into that imaginary money, that it then withdraws from the system to sit in storage in offshore banks: money-farming. That’s sped up the whole process until now, when most of the money traded in this country (and in the world economy) is actually imaginary money based in nothing. It’s real, and has value, only because we all believe it’s real. Like a magic trick, or the Emperor’s New Clothes.
The agenda of our government— no matter who represents it at any given moment— is always to keep the consumers and producers (citizenry) in agreement with the system so that they will continue to feed into it, so it can continue to grow.
But all bubbles must eventually collapse. We continue to sit atop the biggest, gassiest bubble, ever.
And so it grows.