Valuing art by taxing it.

I agree with Michael Arrington. Ethan Kaplan’s post about valuing art, possibly by government intervention, is a bit self-serving.

Simply put, not everyone values art. And among those who do, their is great disagreement on what constitutes art. That’s why there are famous painters and writers, and there are those that we never hear about. It isn’t even quality either; sometimes it is quite arbitrary. Ethan skirts this point; he defines even bad music as art:

Music in the end is a form of art. It is polemic, but I stand by the fact that the worst to the best music is art without any regard to its inherent quality. Bad music is art in the way that we deem the music bad.

But isn’t bad art just worthless art?Should we be happy to drive Edsels, because even a bad car is still a car?

Ethan clearly wants to make a case for a guaranteed living for artists, regardless of the quality of their work. He says that some countries do this:

Within Europe, it is actually pretty easy (relatively) to make a living as an artist, depending on the country. I have friends in certain countries who are Artists by trade, supported through government programs. Canada supports art through liberal granting. In those areas, the value of the artifact of art is less of a concern than the value of the process of creating.

Government bureaucrats deciding what art is. Is that what we really want? Aren’t artists supposed to suffer for their art?

I think that there should be a guaranteed living for software developers too. After all, isn’t bad software still software too? Software is an art as well, isn’t it? Or is art limited to certain forms of expression?

This is just a roundabout way of justifying a tax to download music, and perhaps pictures and writing later. Tellingly, these people don’t want the tax to go to the artists. They want it to go to the record companies, who will take their share and dole out the leftover portion to the artists.

The music industry has failed to prove their value, and now they are making a last ditch effort to put a tax in place to save them. Like many others, I don’t download music so I would get nothing of value for this money. And nobody had noted that this is essentially taxation without representation, the kind of thing that would have caused a revolution a couple hundred years ago.


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