This is where the arts and economics start not getting along so well. Despite having dissociated the notion of value from the notion of money in theory, in practice any kind of real-world economic analysis has the two intimately linked. Which means that if some kind of transaction or activity doesn't involve money, it doesn't get counted - even if it creates, as Josh describes, a whole lot of utility. Certainly lots of artmaking falls into this category - as does volunteering, in-kind donations, and open-source software development, all things that can clearly increase value (especially if there are productivity gains involved). Now, that value will most likely show up in economic transactions somewhere, eventually - whether it's by businesses that are made possible by the existence of Linux, or real estate values that go up because of the contributions of artists, etc. - but the problem is that the source of that value is exceedingly hard to track.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Pinning Down Value
David at Createquity struggles with the arts/value question: