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Un-monetizing our Culture

I've had a dilemma for a few months now, and I think Google+ might be the good place to get some wise comments. So I'm opening a debate here to have some points of view.

We all know that (in the western world at least) we have a capitalistic economy and that most of our companies' main objective is to make money. This isn't new and, reasonably balanced, it's not necessarily a problem. Capitalism can be a very successful model if it's properly utilized. But today, I don't really want to talk about politics or economics. But rather about culture. Our culture.
What bothers me is that this aspect of the economy and the money factor in general is very much inlayed in our culture. And this, to me is not the consequence of our economy only. It's also a consequence of the way we have fun, the way we spend our free time, and the way we educate our kids. In a nutshell, our mindset.

Let me give you two examples.
The first one is sport. We today have sportmen that have a greater salary than a doctor, a professor or a CEO could ever make. Not that they deserve less, but that the main factor that encourages younger generations to do sport is now money, rather than passion or pride of representing their countries. As a French person, I will not detail which event I have in mind, you've probably perfecty understood me (cf. FIFA World Cup 2010).
This is a great proof that, outside the business world, more and more money, doesn't necessarily lead to better. As if it was the case in the business world anyways.

My second example is casinos. We, today, build "leisure" places where people, for only activity, will spend their money in a very hazardous manner.
Casinos, and gambling in general, is known to constitute a poison for both middle and low classes (again only enriching the already wealthy), and for the economy in general since for a strong economy we need a strong middle class. Moreover, it is emphasizing the climate of money-centered systems our brains live in, and which we really should get rid of in the next decades.
Adding to that the "addiction" problem most excessive gamblers are victims of, we know that casinos are meant to make you lose money and that even if you don't lose the first time, it will be the times after. Hence, the most vulnerable of us are again the ones who are the most susceptible to be the victims of the biggest losses.
As a concrete example of how far we have been: in some American states, "gambling" is a sufficient reason to borrow up to $5 000 to the bank. Who will say that banks don't play with our money after that? Again, this is not the banks' fault, but our culture's.

Through these few lines, I didn't mean to have a condescending look on both overly-payed football players or gambling fans (I, myself, enjoy playing poker a lot), and I had in mind a lot more examples; with some very monetized TV-reality shows for example, the fact that younger generations think that to become an artist you should necessarily go through X-Factor. I just wanted to bring attention to what could be some of the factors that are holding our culture back. Again, I wasn't talking about economics or politics. Solely about the only thing that will be reminded of us in 300 years: our culture.

My dilemma is, even though they are legal, these phenomenons I just talked about are subjects to very liberal laws. In one hand, we clearly have a problem of mindsets in our society, on the other hand, I really do not trust politicians. Who does?
I am against a mother state, and am really not for authoritarianism. Still, aren't there some adjustments to be made in order to un-monetize our culture?
Would it be reasonable to limit the amount you can spend to buy a soccer player (now considered as products)?
Or would it be taking away people's freedom to spend their money as they want if we banned casinos?
Or could we distribute the casino's profits to the poorest like we do with taxes through "state casinos" (an idea of my friend +Marwann Al Saadi)?
Or should our culture be un-monetized at all?

Taking the role of the devil's advocate, I could say that casinos create a lot of employments, and probably represent a huge industry. I could also say that sportmen probably deserve their salary and the price they are "valued" at.
Now, we might disagree on a lot of what I wrote. This is why I am asking for some wise comments to enlighten my understanding of our limping culture.
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Marwann Al Saadi's profile photoAlexis de Loynes's profile photoThierry Lhôte's profile photoEdouard E's profile photo
23 comments
 
First of all, start reconsidering the way you consume. And the fact that you are taken into consuming by a marketing system telling around what people needs when they don't.

Then stop considering Culture (in its largest meaning) as a consumption good...
 
+Emilio Boronali So your point of view is that, to un-monetize our culture, you should first start un-monetizing our consumption?
"Stop considering Culture as a consumption good." I totally agree with this idea.
 
Emilio is right, Culture is not consumption.
Plato did not write for consumption of his philosophy. lol ;-)

For instance, all the great writers from the past are free on the Web.
Accessing to their texts does not need any other investment than reading them, meaning bringing our attention to them.

All reside into attention, in your every day life, if you want to grow free and wiser.
 
I totally agree with both of you +Thierry Lhôte and +Emilio Boronali. Though, the point of these few lines was to acknowledge the fact our culture is unfortunately already monetized and often considered as a good. Do you have the same feeling?
Hence, the conclusion was an open endend question: what's the way to come back to a culture that isn't build around consumption and money. Because, from my point of view, culture is much more than the books we write or the songs we sings. It's the environment we live in and the things we give importance to.
 
+Mehdi Arfaoui Either you accept the system and then consume everything even Culture. Or you step aside. Culture will always be paying, one way or an other. You need to buy a book to read. Then your choixe is to buy real cultural book or some dumb biographies released just to sell papers...
 
This is just a narrrative.
If others do like to live in a total consumer state, this is their story. Not necessarily yours.
Invent your story.
 
Well I was looking at it from a macro point of view. In a globalized world, can cultures be as different from Paris to New York. Can it be consumed here and just "enjoyed" there.
I agree with you +Emilio Boronali, culture will always be rewarding anyways, and you can, on an individual scale, step aside.
 
+Mehdi Arfaoui It is in fact not a matter of un-monetize Culture(s) for culture will always be paying via market fees or gov'tal subventions... Artists can' create for free... It is how people behave toward Culture : investment, consumption, learning, sharing...
 
+Emilio Boronali "It is in fact not a matter of un-monetize Culture(s) for culture will always be paying, it is how people behave toward Culture", I like that.
 
If music exists since the prehistoric era, has it always been paying? I think a change mostly occured few decades ago, when it became technically possible to sell it and that people were ready to buy.
Things that aren't monetized today could be tomorrow by a junction between the legal context and the price people are ready to pay. Hence, if there is a way to monetize elements of our culture, is there a way to un-monetize some of them?
 
For centuries, in Europe music and other arts were patronized. first from a religious standpoint, to celebrate.
LIke Orson Welles said :
Art was "A celebration to God’s glory and to the dignity of man.."

Nothing more enlighting than what he is talking in this passage.
https://plus.google.com/118313257993620133557/posts/S8jfcyme5sg

Monetization discourse just explodes as it is not the heart of the problem in art, nor the name of the author.
Real, good culture does not exist for the purpose of its artists.
And also what is the purpose of being monetized if what artists do is plain sh... ? ;-)
 
Music is a good example. Music used to be entertainment, enjoyment. Then some marketing fellows decided that music was a commercial good among others. And now people buy music. Then don't enjoy it. Stealing online is just the extension of 'consuming' music. Why paying finally for something you gonna get rid of as fast as you acquire it ? Specially when it's worthless !
 
If you lose dignity through a process of commercialization of your works, you are hurt because you are no more an artist.
 
+Thierry Lhôte Does it mean that an artist that gets commercialized isn't one? Or rather that it's the feeling of losing dignity that makes you not an artist anymore?
 
+Anthony Gin I totally agree with you, the simultaneous changes in attitude would make it very difficult to considerably de-monetize a culture.
So what would a good solution to keep detractors from capitalizing be? Policies, the market? Nothing? Or is capitalizing good for the culture anyways? Also, I'm talking about culture in the large sense, not only what can be consumed, but rather the "trace of our civilization" in general.
 
+Mehdi Arfaoui Yes because art is a celebration. Not industrial consumed goods.
It is very apparent in the historical making of the Hollywood industry each year, when you have the Oscar ceremony. Movies that get oscarized are not the one which have made the best record on the Box office. Why ? because the profesionals know quite well to distinguish between a public tailored product (aconsumed good) from a significant one from the point of view of art and the progress of movie making (an achievement of some kind).
You can find examples also in literature, the book on writing made by Stephen King, tells that you cannot write a good book when you are making it for the money you will get from it. It simply does not work like that. The writing process does not adapt to this kind of attitude.

In fact if you want to speak what really needs artist in a world without patronizers, like ours now, they need above all maximum visibility. The process of getting paid come as a result of a mix of visibility and talent, or if you prefer instead of talent, a certain kind of appeal for the way you paint, you write, you play, in the public.

So, first you have to deliver publicly and in any way possible, then when the public find your work interesting, they begin to enter the process of commercialization.
Staying opaque is in fact now , more and more, a handicap.

Conclusion, you cannnot say that a legal distribution process will atttain the goal of producing a valuable culture. Same for an illegal one. Having processes of distribution does not imply that you are selling great books, music instead of deep shit.
But you can say that in our future networked world, what might make a significant difference between two concurrent distributed systems will be initial visibility. But then we are not talking art we are talking business. Art and culture are not concerned by that. You are speaking of two different things.
 
+Thierry Lhôte Funny that you talk about oscars because Mehdi and me were commenting letters from Ingmar Bergman, which is considered by some as one of the rare artists of last century's film industry, criticizing Oscar and Cannes Festival and calling them places of humiliation for true artists. I was telling Mehdi than those festivals should exist only to promote and encourage novelty or genius of people that would be less well-known than star movie directors.

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/07/cannes-is-place-of-mental-humiliation.html
 
+Marwann Al Saadi Yes but Ingmar Bergman is quite an extreme point. And intellectualism is not a component of great art. Actually it is a deterent in art.
But if you take someone really popular, one of the best playwrights ever, Moliere, for instance, then you can have great plays with a huge impact on a very large public.
In movie industry, take someone like David Fincher, or legends like John Ford, Hitchcock, etc.
 
+Thierry Lhôte "Movies that get oscarized are not the one which have made the best record on the Box office." Unfortunately, it's less and less the case. I agree with +Marwann Al Saadi who says "those festivals should exist only to promote and encourage novelty or genius of people that would be less well-known than star movie directors." But this wouldn't attract enough visibility to these festivals, which are, again, very monetized.
Though you're right, we're not talking about art but rather about business here.
 
The problems you are touching in your posts are answered by some guy named Umair Haque, who defined thin value vs. thick value.
The industrial model of economy permitted a huge technology leap forward, but now itis becoming obsolete alongside with its institutions.
 
Yes! I agree. I've read his book, the "New Capitalist Manifesto", and I agree with a lot of his ideas.
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