There was once a time where I had an inkling of economics, and the overall benefits of the free market system. Now, as I start to engage in in-depth discussions on the matter, I can feel the blank look on my face, and the confussion setting in. I mourn the days when I almost minored in political science, and find myself purusing books on economics, however out of place they seem amidst my collection of O'Conner, Williams, Shakespeare, and Warton. Admitedly, one of the main challenges I faced in college -- as I found particularly when I attempted to take Metaphysical poetry along side classical economics -- was that I was required to use two sides of my brain, and my economic brain was sadly under-exercised in comparison to my literature brain, especially since my literature teachers and classmates either were distributist economists (if there is such a thing) or they neither knew nor gave a hoot about economics in any shape or form.
So I leave college, theoretically prepared for the world. I pursue literature and music; and what do I find? Socialists! Everywhere, socialists! Why is it that all artists today are socialists? They claim that it is because they refuse to compromise their art by putting price on it in the name of capitalism; maybe I could take them more seriously if, in not "selling out," most of what they produced wasn't sheer egotistical badness on wheels.
On rereading this, I realized that I should clarify that I don't think that all artists must market if they are not, at that time, equipped to distribute their art for one reason or another, or if they simply don't have the desire to share their art. I'm also not saying that all artists who avoid marketing are doing so out of insecurity (if they are good artists). What I am saying is that artists should not fear that marketing their work will inevetibly lead to comprimising the work of art itself, or "selling out."
Even in Catholic circles, good artists are never discovered because of their belief that marketing and true art are not compatible. They argue that marketing means "selling-out" -- period; putting a price on a work of art is like putting a price on a child. And I understand how this feels. There are few things worse than, after showing your work of art to someone, having it of art ripped to shreds, or modified, or tweaked so that it might be more "sell-able." And, admitedly, editors and producers have been known, on occasion, to suck the marrow out of a brillient work of art for the sake of profit. However, in my experience with having my artistic babies slashed to pieces, oftentimes they were slashed to pieces because, to be frank, they were ugly babies (sorry for the unpleasent imagery, but that's the best way to describe it). I have learned a great deal about how to produce good art from having my work edited and my favorite pieces cut out and thrown to the dogs (whether or not I always agree with those particular decisions . . .). If it wasn't for the editors, F. Scott Fitzgerald would be illegible to the point to where his brilliance would never see the light of day (and true art is meant to be shared).
Except in the case of real artists, the fear of marketing one's work in the capitalist world is, I think in some cases at least, more a fear of being objectively criticized than it is a fear of selling out. There are some fantastic independant artists, and I applaud them for being able to make a living with art the hard way; but for every talented artist, there are about a 1,000 more artists who really need to reevaluate how they spend their time. It makes sense, sadly, since we live in an age where people lack the ability to accept criticism because they are conditioned into the a delussional understanding of their own self worth.
This spring, I am returning to Italy, in part to see if music school is for me. I will have a book on economics in tow, and hopefully I will be able to avoid being sucked in to the vortex that is socialism.
St. Thomas More, prega per noi!