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

3.7 out of 5 stars 5 ratings

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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

"Taking up the question of how we think about policies toward goods that are both public symbols and economic products, Tyler Cowen's Good and Plenty demonstrates that the usual discussion of arts policy misses the point. If you focus obsessively on urine-dipped crucifixes subsidized by the NEA, you miss the government's role in encouraging many other symbols, from the Chicago Bears to Harvard. You miss the history of the WPA in the 1930s and the Voice of America in the 1950s, political art dwarfing the NEA. You will suppose mistakenly that arts policy in the United States is laissez-faire. Advancing economics into serious thinking about culture, Cowen's book is a pleasure and profit to read."―Deirdre McCloskey, University of Illinois, Chicago, author of How to Be Human (Though an Economist)

"Nearly everything I have read on the government's involvement in the arts suffers from being little more than shrill advocacy. Tyler Cowen's Good and Plenty makes a refreshing departure by providing a calm and thorough analysis of the causes and consequences of government arts policy. The book offers a temperate, well-reasoned consideration of a broad range of related subjects, and is much more thorough than any other treatment I have read. It makes a very useful contribution."―David Galenson, University of Chicago, author of Painting Outside the Lines

"Tyler Cowen is to be congratulated for tackling the bedeviled relation between 'art and beauty' as understood by the Western tradition and the 'liberal state' with its ethos, if not practice, of egalitarianism. As always, he delights in using hard data to prick the balloons of received opinion, especially the bad rap given to 'commercial culture.'"―Martha Bayles, arts journalist and professor at Boston College

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Princeton University Press (May 7, 2006)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 216 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0691120420
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0691120423
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.5 x 1 x 9.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.7 out of 5 stars 5 ratings

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