Wednesday, October 09, 2013

David Byrne: The Rich Are Destroying New York Culture

From Rolling Stone:

New York is in danger of losing what remains of its creative soul as the wealthiest one percent usurp the cultural resources that once made the city "a repository of ideas and information," David Byrne writes in an op-ed piece for Creative Time Reports.

The singer, songwriter and former Talking Heads frontman describes New York as a body and a mind. While he applauds improvements to the body – a historic reduction in crime, along with initiatives including bike lanes, parks and upgraded public transportation – he's less optimistic about the overall health of the organism, writing, "The cultural part of the city – the mind – has been usurped by the top one percent."

More here.

My take on what Byrne describes happening in New York is that this is essentially a template for what's happening nationwide: corporate capitalism's winner-take-all nature is crushing grass-roots art and culture EVERYWHERE. Never mind the fact that it's almost impossible to afford a theater space. It is becoming increasingly difficult for artists and culture-makers simply to survive. How can you create art when you have to work three jobs just to pay the bills?

I guess this is what economists would call an "externality."