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Good and Plenty: The Creative Successes of American Arts Funding Hardcover – May 7, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Arts funding policy has dropped off the national public affairs radar in recent years, and much of the remaining debate continues to take the form of knee-jerk pro and con positions. Economist Cowen (In Praise of Commerical Culture) dismisses such debates at the outset, and goes on to make a case for the current American system, which, unlike the European model, emphasizes indirect, rather than direct, subsidies. Cowen finds that indirect funding-funding arts organizations rather than giving stipends to artists or commissioning works directly-is ultimately beneficial to the development of new artistic forms, and to helping arts endeavors flourish. He devotes significant pages to the history of arts funding in the U.S., including the New Deal-era Works Progress Administration, and also devotes a chapter to copyright, in which he argues that the Internet won't make traditional media and cultural forms disappear. Cowen references a range of well-known performers and artists, from Marian Anderson to Metallica, but the book is written as an academic treatise, with all the form and content constraints that that implies. For those truly interested in the state of America's financial relationship to the arts scene, though, it's a fresh approach.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"A rare and much needed objective look at the topic of government funding for the arts. Avoiding the hyperbole often heard on both sides of the argument, Cowen offers a balanced overview of publicly-funded art. A must for the biased advocate."--Art Times

"Cowen makes the point loudly and clearly: indirect subsidy favors the decentralization of artistic creativity, particularly as it involves nonprofit institutions, and a thousand flowers can (and do) bloom."--J. Mark Schuster, Journal of Cultural Economics

"[Good and Plenty] explores the debate over government funding for the arts in an attempt to make each position intelligible and sympathetic to the other side."--Journal of Economic Literature

"Where Good and Plenty is at its best is in its discussion of the overall ecology of the arts and cultural sector, drawing explicit links between avant-garde activity and later commercial success. The narrative of experimentation as research and development for the sector is one that has recently gained currency in the UK and is discussed with persuasive force in Cowen's book."--Dave O'Brien, LSE British Politics and Policy blog


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (May 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691120420
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691120423
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,963,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rafe Champion on April 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Good research and scholarship can change the way we see the world. Tyler Cowen achieved this with his study of the counterproductive impact of the Marshall Plan that delivered aid to Europe after WW2. This story can be found on his web site and it might have warned the West off the disastrous aid programs to the Third World that were partly inspired by the Marshall Plan.

He has done it again in this book where his intention "to steer the arts policy debate away from its previous focus on the National Endowment for the Arts. More significant questions concern the use of our tax system to support nonprofits, creating a favourable climate for philanthropy, the legal treatment of the arts, the arts in the American university, and the evolution of copyright law. I also seek to recast the debate over direct funding of the arts...A more fruitful inquiry involves what general steps a government can take to promote a wide variety of healthy and diverse funding sources for the arts."

Cowen is a professor of economics at the George Mason University (Virginia) and a daily contributor to the blog Marginal Revolution. He has a special interest in the economics and dynamics of the arts and culture, using culture in the broad sense employed by T S Eliot to include the preparation and consumption of food. Ironically (or appropriately) the most popular page on his personal web site is his ethnic eating guide to the Northern Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland area.

He has previously challenged widespread views about the damaging influence of capitalism and mass consumer culture on the vitality and diversity of the arts.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on December 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was required reading on my doctoral program in Public Administration. Not my favorite but still a good book on funding.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By pokengurl on May 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recieved my book in the mail and didn't have to wait very long for it. the condition is not bad by anymeans. the book itself is full of wonderful conversation that I will no doubt be using throughout my career.
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1 of 26 people found the following review helpful By deathbyloveu on September 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
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