UK celebs call for tax on iPhones & Macs to help fund creative arts

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Comments

  • Reply 21 of 39
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,119member
    zeus423 said:
    Edit:  "Celebrity" backers include Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton, Yinka Shonibare, Sir Frank Bowling, and Rachael Whiteread, among others.

    I added the quotation marks to fix this.
    Don't mistake your snide ignorance for cleverness, those people are important in their fields.  The latter two especially are a big deal.
  • Reply 22 of 39
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 1,019member
    In the USA I've seen plenty of homeless people using phones as a significant means of communication, news, entertainment, maps, bus schedules, etc. Do these "celebrities" think that even these homeless people need to fund sculptures and paintings? 
  • Reply 23 of 39
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,052member
    (Before saying my piece I just want to make clear that I'm not attempting to either defend or criticise this proposal).

    As someone involved in the arts in the UK, I can confirm that there are two major issues in the current British arts landscape.

    The first issue is a general lack of funding: since 2000ish, the vast majority of our most successful actors, writers, comedians, musicians, artists etc have all come from privileged backgrounds. This is no coincidence: one requires a reasonable private income (ie from rich parents) in order to be able to start a career in the arts. This naturally restricts the diversity of the arts world, and makes our artistic landscape much the poorer - many talented creatives are unable to even consider getting a career off the ground.

    Secondly, enjoyment of the arts is increasingly becoming available only to the privileged. Theatre tickets cost a fortune (even at festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe!); concert tickets are extortionate; exhibitions are surprisingly costly and original artwork is prohibitively so. This is generally not a result of greed (at least, not in all cases!), but rather because our economy is tilted against artisan craftsmanship and personal creation. If you can only fit a small number of people in the theatre, you have to charge a lot for tickets simply to pay the salaries of all those needed to mount the play. It's a matter of great personal sadness to me, the arts thus being put out of the reach of so many: kids from poorer backgrounds have never been to the theatre or a live concert! This was the case even before the pandemic; it is especially so now, and is a situation that really does need to change. The arts are such an essential part of our culture (Apple, for instance, would never have existed without a whole plethora of artists inspiring Steve Jobs and the team in myriad different ways, as you will all be aware).

    The second issue demonstrates that the solution to the first issue cannot be to simply 'charge more for art' or 'make something people want to pay more for', as suggested by some people above.

    As I said at the top, I haven't considered the pros and cons of the 'Smart Fund' proposal, so I am certainly not attempting to express an opinion about whether it is a good or bad idea. I'm just pointing out that there is a problem with the arts in the UK, and a state-sponsored financial solution is probably the only way to solve said problem. Contrary to the general tone of the dismissive comments above, I don't believe the premise of this campaign is flawed.

    Since the Arts Council has been funding artists continuously, why is it that the most successful artists have come from privileged backgrounds, as you claim?  Is the Arts Council not distributing funding based upon merit but rather on income, class, and good old fashioned who you know?

    It is odd that you would blame economic forces for this supposed division of artistic wealth, real or perceived.  It really looks like the same cultural problem that has kept British society divided for centuries rather than any malign economic forces at work.

    Maybe taking a closer look at the makeup of the Arts Council leadership might shed some light.  Because if they aren’t doing their job evenhandedly, throwing more of other people’s money at these same rent-seeking gatekeepers won’t change anything.

    stompyentropysFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 24 of 39
    I guess since those companies aren't UK domestic, they figure there will be little opposition.

    Now that every country in the world seems to be looking into big tech's business, every Tom Dick and Harry will also be trying to capitalize on big tech's beleaguered status.
  • Reply 25 of 39
    iadlibiadlib Posts: 84member
    How about we tax wealthy people instead? Just an idea. 
  • Reply 26 of 39
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,119member
    linkman said:
    In the USA I've seen plenty of homeless people using phones as a significant means of communication, news, entertainment, maps, bus schedules, etc. Do these "celebrities" think that even these homeless people need to fund sculptures and paintings? 
    I'd be surprised if homeless people buy new phones that often.  Even if they do, the tax could be applied to phones above a certain sticker price, in order to target the premium end. 
  • Reply 27 of 39
    davgregdavgreg Posts: 921member
    That would be a definite no.

    Why should anyone support “artists” against their will?
    And who gets to decide what art is worthy?
    Beatsentropys
  • Reply 28 of 39
    jwdawsojwdawso Posts: 369member
    This is just the Elite fighting amongst themselves on how to divvy up the pot. The Elites are not an expanding class, but rather the opposite where all power and wealth is contracting into a smaller group. The artistic Elite are trying to secure their place. As a group they will fail, but some individuals will probably succeed. 
    entropys
  • Reply 29 of 39
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,119member
    davgreg said:
    That would be a definite no.

    Why should anyone support “artists” against their will?
    And who gets to decide what art is worthy?
    Because it’s lawful taxation.
    Arts councils.
    FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 30 of 39
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,200member
    Arts Councils and their ilk are like the taliban.
    Government appointed Arts Tsars who get to enjoy enormous power over a bunch of various earnest people using like a weapon the vast sums of money given Arts Councils by politicians wanting to look like they care for the arts.

    they decide who gets a grant
    they decide what art gets funded
    they decide who gets promoted, and who gets ignored
    the artists produce art that appeals to the gatekeepers on the council rather than the general populace.

    if people can’t see how government largess to a group of already powerful people in a QANGO one step removed from the accountability of the civil service destroys art as a creative process well, we all get what art we deserve.

    beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 31 of 39
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,022member
    genovelle said:
    How about they just create something of value that people in the UK and across the world will actually pay money for? It seems like the UK is looking for a free ride. 
    How about they become programmers, that has been the governments go to statement when other groups of people complain they are not making enough.

    Of they could be solar panel or windmill installer, that is the government new go to solution for loss of job or wages.
  • Reply 32 of 39
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,022member
    (Before saying my piece I just want to make clear that I'm not attempting to either defend or criticise this proposal).

    As someone involved in the arts in the UK, I can confirm that there are two major issues in the current British arts landscape.

    The first issue is a general lack of funding: since 2000ish, the vast majority of our most successful actors, writers, comedians, musicians, artists etc have all come from privileged backgrounds. This is no coincidence: one requires a reasonable private income (ie from rich parents) in order to be able to start a career in the arts. This naturally restricts the diversity of the arts world, and makes our artistic landscape much the poorer - many talented creatives are unable to even consider getting a career off the ground.

    Secondly, enjoyment of the arts is increasingly becoming available only to the privileged. Theatre tickets cost a fortune (even at festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe!); concert tickets are extortionate; exhibitions are surprisingly costly and original artwork is prohibitively so. This is generally not a result of greed (at least, not in all cases!), but rather because our economy is tilted against artisan craftsmanship and personal creation. If you can only fit a small number of people in the theatre, you have to charge a lot for tickets simply to pay the salaries of all those needed to mount the play. It's a matter of great personal sadness to me, the arts thus being put out of the reach of so many: kids from poorer backgrounds have never been to the theatre or a live concert! This was the case even before the pandemic; it is especially so now, and is a situation that really does need to change. The arts are such an essential part of our culture (Apple, for instance, would never have existed without a whole plethora of artists inspiring Steve Jobs and the team in myriad different ways, as you will all be aware).

    The second issue demonstrates that the solution to the first issue cannot be to simply 'charge more for art' or 'make something people want to pay more for', as suggested by some people above.

    As I said at the top, I haven't considered the pros and cons of the 'Smart Fund' proposal, so I am certainly not attempting to express an opinion about whether it is a good or bad idea. I'm just pointing out that there is a problem with the arts in the UK, and a state-sponsored financial solution is probably the only way to solve said problem. Contrary to the general tone of the dismissive comments above, I don't believe the premise of this campaign is flawed.

    I do agree the arts do bring a lot of value which is not monetary. However, the arts generally has always been for those with enough disposable income. This has not really change in thousand years. Yes there were times in history when the arts were brought to the everyday person, but even then without lots of knowledge about the subject you may not be able to appreciate what the artist is doing. Then add in the fact you have artist who do things which lack of better word "off the wall" and call it art and get upset when others do not see or understand what they are doing. The US has lots of free museums and Art Galleries so and who is inclined to learn can go, but it takes desire. Whether your a person of means or not , there is lots of people who lack the desire as such it should not be the burden of the tax payer to fund something only very few tend to appreciate.

    Over the years the wife and I have bough art from local artist where we have lived and traveled, we try to buy things which represent the area we are visiting or a unique way to make something that only that artist is doing which shows off their skills. We really try to avoid buying commercial art, we like buying directly from the person who made it when possible.

    FYI, I do not thing Steve Jobs was inspired by artists, he was more of a person who tried to be connected with nature.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 33 of 39
    Celebrity backers include Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton, Yinka Shonibare, Sir Frank Bowling, and Rachael Whiteread, among others.

    I can see the case to be made for a tax on tech that can download and store music and video so artists in those fields can apply for grants to produce the work, but I'm not sure why this should be including painters and sculptors. Netflix isn't streaming them, Napster (OG) isn't distributing them and it should be business as usual for them.

  • Reply 34 of 39
    maestro64 said:
    (Before saying my piece I just want to make clear that I'm not attempting to either defend or criticise this proposal).

    As someone involved in the arts in the UK, I can confirm that there are two major issues in the current British arts landscape.

    The first issue is a general lack of funding: since 2000ish, the vast majority of our most successful actors, writers, comedians, musicians, artists etc have all come from privileged backgrounds. This is no coincidence: one requires a reasonable private income (ie from rich parents) in order to be able to start a career in the arts. This naturally restricts the diversity of the arts world, and makes our artistic landscape much the poorer - many talented creatives are unable to even consider getting a career off the ground.

    Secondly, enjoyment of the arts is increasingly becoming available only to the privileged. Theatre tickets cost a fortune (even at festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe!); concert tickets are extortionate; exhibitions are surprisingly costly and original artwork is prohibitively so. This is generally not a result of greed (at least, not in all cases!), but rather because our economy is tilted against artisan craftsmanship and personal creation. If you can only fit a small number of people in the theatre, you have to charge a lot for tickets simply to pay the salaries of all those needed to mount the play. It's a matter of great personal sadness to me, the arts thus being put out of the reach of so many: kids from poorer backgrounds have never been to the theatre or a live concert! This was the case even before the pandemic; it is especially so now, and is a situation that really does need to change. The arts are such an essential part of our culture (Apple, for instance, would never have existed without a whole plethora of artists inspiring Steve Jobs and the team in myriad different ways, as you will all be aware).

    The second issue demonstrates that the solution to the first issue cannot be to simply 'charge more for art' or 'make something people want to pay more for', as suggested by some people above.

    As I said at the top, I haven't considered the pros and cons of the 'Smart Fund' proposal, so I am certainly not attempting to express an opinion about whether it is a good or bad idea. I'm just pointing out that there is a problem with the arts in the UK, and a state-sponsored financial solution is probably the only way to solve said problem. Contrary to the general tone of the dismissive comments above, I don't believe the premise of this campaign is flawed.

    I do agree the arts do bring a lot of value which is not monetary. However, the arts generally has always been for those with enough disposable income. This has not really change in thousand years. Yes there were times in history when the arts were brought to the everyday person, but even then without lots of knowledge about the subject you may not be able to appreciate what the artist is doing. Then add in the fact you have artist who do things which lack of better word "off the wall" and call it art and get upset when others do not see or understand what they are doing. The US has lots of free museums and Art Galleries so and who is inclined to learn can go, but it takes desire. Whether your a person of means or not , there is lots of people who lack the desire as such it should not be the burden of the tax payer to fund something only very few tend to appreciate.

    Over the years the wife and I have bough art from local artist where we have lived and traveled, we try to buy things which represent the area we are visiting or a unique way to make something that only that artist is doing which shows off their skills. We really try to avoid buying commercial art, we like buying directly from the person who made it when possible.

    FYI, I do not thing Steve Jobs was inspired by artists, he was more of a person who tried to be connected with nature.
    Science was also the province of the wealthy for a substantial portion of human history. Yet we don't argue about the benefit of public funding bringing the ability for "poor" people to become scientists.
  • Reply 35 of 39
    I would have liked to see this article confirm or deny the presence of similar schemes in other countries around the world.

    Frankly, this seems like an extension of the push to get blank CDs taxed at a higher rate because of the assumption that they were all being sold to people who were pirating music.
  • Reply 36 of 39
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,119member
    maestro64 said:
    (Before saying my piece I just want to make clear that I'm not attempting to either defend or criticise this proposal).

    As someone involved in the arts in the UK, I can confirm that there are two major issues in the current British arts landscape.

    The first issue is a general lack of funding: since 2000ish, the vast majority of our most successful actors, writers, comedians, musicians, artists etc have all come from privileged backgrounds. This is no coincidence: one requires a reasonable private income (ie from rich parents) in order to be able to start a career in the arts. This naturally restricts the diversity of the arts world, and makes our artistic landscape much the poorer - many talented creatives are unable to even consider getting a career off the ground.

    Secondly, enjoyment of the arts is increasingly becoming available only to the privileged. Theatre tickets cost a fortune (even at festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe!); concert tickets are extortionate; exhibitions are surprisingly costly and original artwork is prohibitively so. This is generally not a result of greed (at least, not in all cases!), but rather because our economy is tilted against artisan craftsmanship and personal creation. If you can only fit a small number of people in the theatre, you have to charge a lot for tickets simply to pay the salaries of all those needed to mount the play. It's a matter of great personal sadness to me, the arts thus being put out of the reach of so many: kids from poorer backgrounds have never been to the theatre or a live concert! This was the case even before the pandemic; it is especially so now, and is a situation that really does need to change. The arts are such an essential part of our culture (Apple, for instance, would never have existed without a whole plethora of artists inspiring Steve Jobs and the team in myriad different ways, as you will all be aware).

    The second issue demonstrates that the solution to the first issue cannot be to simply 'charge more for art' or 'make something people want to pay more for', as suggested by some people above.

    As I said at the top, I haven't considered the pros and cons of the 'Smart Fund' proposal, so I am certainly not attempting to express an opinion about whether it is a good or bad idea. I'm just pointing out that there is a problem with the arts in the UK, and a state-sponsored financial solution is probably the only way to solve said problem. Contrary to the general tone of the dismissive comments above, I don't believe the premise of this campaign is flawed.

    I do agree the arts do bring a lot of value which is not monetary. However, the arts generally has always been for those with enough disposable income. This has not really change in thousand years. Yes there were times in history when the arts were brought to the everyday person, but even then without lots of knowledge about the subject you may not be able to appreciate what the artist is doing. Then add in the fact you have artist who do things which lack of better word "off the wall" and call it art and get upset when others do not see or understand what they are doing. The US has lots of free museums and Art Galleries so and who is inclined to learn can go, but it takes desire. Whether your a person of means or not , there is lots of people who lack the desire as such it should not be the burden of the tax payer to fund something only very few tend to appreciate.

    Over the years the wife and I have bough art from local artist where we have lived and traveled, we try to buy things which represent the area we are visiting or a unique way to make something that only that artist is doing which shows off their skills. We really try to avoid buying commercial art, we like buying directly from the person who made it when possible.

    FYI, I do not thing Steve Jobs was inspired by artists, he was more of a person who tried to be connected with nature.
    Science was also the province of the wealthy for a substantial portion of human history. Yet we don't argue about the benefit of public funding bringing the ability for "poor" people to become scientists.
    We don’t argue about it because it’s settled - we want everyone with interest and talent to be able to study STEM subjects. Government focussing spending on STEM education is part of the reason arts education is underfunded.
  • Reply 37 of 39
    maestro64 said:
     However, the arts generally has always been for those with enough disposable income. This has not really change in thousand years. Yes there were times in history when the arts were brought to the everyday person, but even then without lots of knowledge about the subject you may not be able to appreciate what the artist is doing. Then add in the fact you have artist who do things which lack of better word "off the wall" and call it art and get upset when others do not see or understand what they are doing. The US has lots of free museums and Art Galleries so and who is inclined to learn can go, but it takes desire. Whether your a person of means or not , there is lots of people who lack the desire as such it should not be the burden of the tax payer to fund something only very few tend to appreciate.
    I agree that the arts have historically not been accessible for people from poorer backgrounds, and I think this is awful! Any aspirational culture is surely obliged to attempt to reverse this.

    As far as the arts being something 'only very few tend to appreciate', I think this is a direct result of art not being historically accessible to all, as we have just agreed. In the UK at least we have a real cultural issue with 'high art' being viewed as 'not for people like us' by those groups (ie generally poorer families) for whom it has historically been inaccessible. Some things like music, TV series and - to some extent - films (though there is still a divide between 'blockbuster' and 'arts films'), have broken through this barrier and are appreciated by everyone; I long for the day when the same is true of literature, visual arts and theatre. For around 20 years we, too, have benefitted from completely free galleries and museums, which are absolutely fantastic and trips to the Science Museum and British Museum are traditional highlights for primary school aged children across the country. Imagine if something similar were possible for theatre! Some places (like the National Theatre and the English National Opera) provide heavily subsidised (or free) tickets for children and younger people, and this looks like it is beginning to have an effect at breaking down that 'not for people like us' lie.

    Anyway, this isn't really the forum for discussing this question - but it's always a pleasure to hear other perspectives on it!
  • Reply 38 of 39
    JWSC said:

    It is odd that you would blame economic forces for this supposed division of artistic wealth, real or perceived.  It really looks like the same cultural problem that has kept British society divided for centuries rather than any malign economic forces at work.

    Maybe taking a closer look at the makeup of the Arts Council leadership might shed some light.  Because if they aren’t doing their job evenhandedly, throwing more of other people’s money at these same rent-seeking gatekeepers won’t change anything.

    Thanks for this - an interesting insight and perspective.

    As a quick example of what I mean re economic forces (which, for the record, I don't think are inherently malign): take the acting world. Actors need experience of acting in plays in order to get good. This means there have to be plays produced for them to act in, and these plays are not going to be 100% brilliant, because the actors are still learning their craft. Audiences are only willing to pay cheaper prices for this sort of show, and this means the profits are insufficient to provide a living wage for the actors + creatives. This means that these cheaper shows are few and far between, dramatically reducing the opportunities for up and coming actors to hone their craft.

    Consequently, actors who are successful generally fall into a couple of camps: those who knew someone who gave them a leg up; those with the independent resources (ie rich parents) to stick at it for ages despite not getting much work; the lucky few who were in the right place at the right time and were talented enough to break through. Nothing wrong with the third category - that's the dream! However, lots and lots of people are in those first two camps.

    A very similar situation is also true of UK book publishing (ever wondered why so many children's books these days are written by celebrities rather than authors?) and a slightly similar thing is also true of the music scene. I don't know that much about visual arts so wouldn't like to comment, but the little I know suggests the situation is scarily similar.

    Anyway, I don't have the whole picture, so thank you for you comments - your point around the Arts Council leadership is certainly food for thought; I just don't feel that it undermines my wider point about there being an issue in the UK arts scene that can best be fixed by some sort of financial solution.
  • Reply 39 of 39
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 5,022member
    maestro64 said:
    (Before saying my piece I just want to make clear that I'm not attempting to either defend or criticise this proposal).

    As someone involved in the arts in the UK, I can confirm that there are two major issues in the current British arts landscape.

    The first issue is a general lack of funding: since 2000ish, the vast majority of our most successful actors, writers, comedians, musicians, artists etc have all come from privileged backgrounds. This is no coincidence: one requires a reasonable private income (ie from rich parents) in order to be able to start a career in the arts. This naturally restricts the diversity of the arts world, and makes our artistic landscape much the poorer - many talented creatives are unable to even consider getting a career off the ground.

    Secondly, enjoyment of the arts is increasingly becoming available only to the privileged. Theatre tickets cost a fortune (even at festivals such as the Edinburgh Fringe!); concert tickets are extortionate; exhibitions are surprisingly costly and original artwork is prohibitively so. This is generally not a result of greed (at least, not in all cases!), but rather because our economy is tilted against artisan craftsmanship and personal creation. If you can only fit a small number of people in the theatre, you have to charge a lot for tickets simply to pay the salaries of all those needed to mount the play. It's a matter of great personal sadness to me, the arts thus being put out of the reach of so many: kids from poorer backgrounds have never been to the theatre or a live concert! This was the case even before the pandemic; it is especially so now, and is a situation that really does need to change. The arts are such an essential part of our culture (Apple, for instance, would never have existed without a whole plethora of artists inspiring Steve Jobs and the team in myriad different ways, as you will all be aware).

    The second issue demonstrates that the solution to the first issue cannot be to simply 'charge more for art' or 'make something people want to pay more for', as suggested by some people above.

    As I said at the top, I haven't considered the pros and cons of the 'Smart Fund' proposal, so I am certainly not attempting to express an opinion about whether it is a good or bad idea. I'm just pointing out that there is a problem with the arts in the UK, and a state-sponsored financial solution is probably the only way to solve said problem. Contrary to the general tone of the dismissive comments above, I don't believe the premise of this campaign is flawed.

    I do agree the arts do bring a lot of value which is not monetary. However, the arts generally has always been for those with enough disposable income. This has not really change in thousand years. Yes there were times in history when the arts were brought to the everyday person, but even then without lots of knowledge about the subject you may not be able to appreciate what the artist is doing. Then add in the fact you have artist who do things which lack of better word "off the wall" and call it art and get upset when others do not see or understand what they are doing. The US has lots of free museums and Art Galleries so and who is inclined to learn can go, but it takes desire. Whether your a person of means or not , there is lots of people who lack the desire as such it should not be the burden of the tax payer to fund something only very few tend to appreciate.

    Over the years the wife and I have bough art from local artist where we have lived and traveled, we try to buy things which represent the area we are visiting or a unique way to make something that only that artist is doing which shows off their skills. We really try to avoid buying commercial art, we like buying directly from the person who made it when possible.

    FYI, I do not thing Steve Jobs was inspired by artists, he was more of a person who tried to be connected with nature.
    Science was also the province of the wealthy for a substantial portion of human history. Yet we don't argue about the benefit of public funding bringing the ability for "poor" people to become scientists.
    Actually Science has benefits everyone, if you look at the money put into NASA and look at all the technology that has come out of the program which benefits everyone no mater of their means, technology does not discriminate anyone is capable of using or benefitting from it. The total return on the invested money into NASA is huge. I am not saying all tax payer money invested by the government had huge returns which is not always true. 

    Here is a simple example the money they government put into fundamental silicone physics lead to the development of the transistor. The transistor is the basic building block of every electronic device every person in the world benefits from. People lives are far better off today because of investment made in science of device physic. Can you find a similar example in arts where people lives are far better off today due to some investment into the arts.

    But, the arts can not show the same return or even show society as a whole is much better because of those investments. 

    Even looking at the non-monetary return, the money put into medial science has shown benefit on society that is huge and some of the benefits is not $ measurable, people are living longer today and there are people alive today who would not be here  if it was not for modern medicine.

    Long and short everyone's lives are far better off today due to the investments made into all the science verses any amount put into the arts. Public money need to go to things which benefit the largest part society of those who pay in verse going toward things which only a small number of people see a benefit.
    muthuk_vanalingam
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