In a past life, I worked on the performance team at an enterprise software company. For some of our users, our main dashboard took almost a minute to load. Fixing this didn't generate any new sales or increase revenue (enterprise software like this is sold to CTOs, not employees, and the actual product quality rarely affects sales numbers). We had our PM work full time to come up with numbers supporting our argument that making the service fast decreases churn. It was a pointless exercise, but it got us the resources to help fix the problem.
The sad reality is that while there are many things whose value should be intuitively obvious, the folks in charge do not always have an appreciation for them without seeing hard numbers.
Almost all the "radical" software and project management practices to show up (and when implemented successfully at least) in the past 15 years aims to give more power to workers and to de-scope the role of management from pure decision-makers into a more supportive role with more intense feedback. There is a very consistent theme that organizations where these efforts fail are ones where management uses new processes and tooling to exert their existing political power to achieve results instead of also transforming themselves.
Of course, there's an implicit bias that the arts are trivial, but most people these days don't do real work, they do virtual work. If you're in finance, STEM, the Arts, law, or education, your job is to move information around. People who do real, useful work with tangible value generally don't make much money.
Or maybe it's more a measure of how automated large scale farming has become? It requires less human effort?
Did you somehow read the article to be saying that we should immediately stop driving trucks and growing food? It's an extremely practical story. It's not about what humans need, but what the US specifically exports and how investing in those industries is important to our economic future.
Investing in more transport (aside from fixing failing infrastructure) or agriculture will not result in much of a return. People don't consume more food because there's more available. They do consume more culture.
> Expensive and rare things like Ferraris or Jeff Koon's flowers aren't more important than free things like air, water springs and insects.
TV, film and books, mainly. But the NEA is budgeted at 150 million (set to be cut to 29 million) for returns of 763 billion, with 4.9% growth. Investing in the arts is incredibly profitable and great for the economy. It's all worthless if the ocean covers the plains, but 150 million is practically nothing when it comes to the environment. The taxes from whatever portion of 763 billion that the NEA's budget fostered is surely higher than the 150 million dollar input.
>The government (federal, state, and local) also provided a major $101.5 billion boost to the sector, mainly in visual and performing arts education funding, according to the data.
The NEA is a rounding error in government arts spending.
It's also dishonest, since this is a politically motivated attempt to counter cuts in NEA funding, yet very little of TV, movies, or music is sponsored by the NEA, which just goes to show how unimportant it is except to pseudo-elites who think that a urinal in a museum is art as long as the rabble don't approve of it.
Not surprising that art is a bigger industry? Unsurprising, with ~40X the number of people involved, arts produced 4X the revenue.
I am under the impression that farmers have automated pretty much everything that is automatizeable in their workflow. Artists still have to put pen to (virtual nowadays) paper and spend time on each and every piece of work. Same for other forms of art (be it furnitures or scupltures or animations and video).
So yeah, I don't think you can compare easily.
Record artist can sell millions. Visual artist can sell copies of his works. Writer writes a book once and just copies.
It's seems that art scales and automates better than farmers.
Indeed, you may have a lot of fun in the rollercoaster, and it may be aesthetically pleasing, but it's not made with an artistic intent as much as a desire to make the audience feel good and spend money.
You can call anything "art", so it's not like we can state precisely what fall out of the category. Plus I think the intent make things clearer: do you create music for the music, or do you reuse a well known working formula hopping to sell a lot of air time ?
You can mix both, of course. But when ROI is measure by those producing the thing, it's more a product than a piece of art.
The whole point of art is to make someone feel something. And a big part of getting people to feel is playing on familiarity - for example, how much rock music can be traced directly or indirectly to Chuck Berry? Almost every guitarist has been affected by him. We all mine Chuck Berry riffs, and thus the audience can latch on to our original music and have a spark of recognition.
Product "or" art? It's not either/or.
The arts saw a $20 billion trade surplus, leading with movies and TV programs and jewelry.
I'm not sure why some people in this thread have such a strict definition of art. Hollywood blockbusters are just as much art as poetry.
Why not compare something general like arts and with something general like food? Could it be because the contribution of the food industry dwarfs the arts industry? Or compare something specific like "instrument market" with something specific like agriculture?
Also, isn't contribution defined by how we arbitrarily choose to measure it? Do we ( or should we ) assign the value or portion of the value of the goods transported to the transportation system?
Quickly followed by:
Try enjoying your arts and entertainment when you are hungry and have to walk to the venues.
There is a lot that's classified as art here, and rightfully so. Film, TV, Broadway, music, photography, art schools, sculpture, jewelry, architecture, musical instruments...
At what point does a student loan become unviable to the lender, given real world statistics? Why isn't it a factor in actual loan issuance. Further, why is there massive rhetoric around student loan forgiveness, if the economy has no need for certain professions beyond a threshold (which is apparently 2% for arts). Do we want to educate people in certain majors on tax dollars, when the labor market has no demand for it?
Also, do we want to encourage kids going into degrees, without a thorough cost:benefit analysis of what they are getting into?
People like me are the reason for the article I guess.
Farmers don't get paid anywhere near the retail price. And that's excluding all the processed food where the farmers get even less as a proportion.
If you include art galleries and bookstores, you should include restaurants and grocery stores right?
The USDA has a chart of household expenditures: food=13%, transportation=16%, entertainment+alcohol=6.2%
Looks like the NEA and the USDA are making reports that make their own sector shine. One talking about household expenditures, the other GDP "contribution". I know I could not convince anyone (or myself) of the significance of the different measurements, but when it comes to "X is bigger than Y", the takeaway for the average reader, the headline and report ring false.
Probably, you didn't point to a conflicting source, so I was just going from the article.
One thing you didn't account for is balance of trade. Art in the NEA definition is probably a net exporter. Food probably not? (you can export raw materials, and you can export the brand. As a non American though, my big mac has never seen America, so I really don't know how that would feed through to those figures).
Agriculture also attracts subsidies, that could account for the disparity, although it could increase the disparity so I don't know.
Long story short, the figures don't necessarily contradict each other.
There is a huge bias against the entertainment industry in a lot of America. On Fox, if they use Hollywood as an adjective it is a pejorative. Meanwhile our culture exports are the envy of the rest of the world, who subsidize and protect hoping to catch up.
>But the largest economic impact nationwide came from the usual suspects: broadcasting, which generated $127 billion in economic activity; followed by the motion-picture industry, which accounted for $99 billion; and non-digital publishing, with $77 billion of economic activity. The “arts-related retail trade”—which includes everything from art galleries to book stores—generated $51 million in 2015. But the arts-related retail trade employed 767,000 people to “provide arts and cultural goods and services,” making it the second-highest-employing industry in the arts and culture sector.
so apples and oranges.
Generally you want to keep investing in things that make you money.
Nobody seems to appreciate the central contradiction in the argument of this article. People can apparently 'invest' their money in the arts without any guidance from Washington, so why not return the 150M budget of the NEA to the apparently art-loving public and let them allocate it as they see fit?
The NIH is pretty poor at allocating research funds, and extremely bloated. The grant application process is kafkaesque, to the point where most investigators must hire an FTE just to deal with NIH paperwork.
Private foundations (e.g. HHMI, Wellcome Trust) already do a much better job. There's less overhead, less make-work for beauracrats, and overall higher-quality science.
I don't have first-hand knowledge of other disciplines, but I doubt that it's much different. Certainly SpaceX, Blue Origin, Orbital ATK have moved from design to implementation faster than NASA with the SLS (where 3 of every 4 dollars are spent on overhead).
I could write an essay on the momentous achievements made by agencies you've listed, and the private sector industries they've generated.
I don't think it's obvious that NASA was required to create commercialized space. One could just as easily write an essay on the momentous achievements made by private industry and philanthropic foundations.
I dare you to write an essay on the momentous achievements of the NEA and the private sector industries it has generated.