I bet you are all wondering, "What's a South Asia Economic Conference post doing on this blog?"
Frankly I'm proud that someone out there in business is acknowledging the arts as a vital part of the economy. Well, yes, the Obamas do it but many other intelligent people - including John McCain (and his whack idea of balancing the budget by eliminating arts funding) - do not. Setting aside the spiritual connection many have with the arts, and the thus absurd parallel that we fund religion plenty, but not art, we also happen to spend the least on art though we make the most money in the world.
It makes you wonder, what is the US's deal?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the arts are significantly undervalued within this society. Maybe because much of it has split from ritual and importance within our lives. But come on, USA! Let's be real. If there were no Broadway plays, museums, dance programs, symphonies, etc, etc in New York City...no one would come. Restaurants make money from being around cultural activities. There are only so many bar crawls you can go to. And getting drunk pre or post an event is also only a side highlight of GOING TO A SHOW. Benefits, galas, auctions...99% of these involve art in some way as part of their event. And, here's some food for thought:
Why is ambiance so important to a restaurant's success? And how food looks on your plate? That's right, folks: art plays an important role even at the places you eat!
So put a fork in it, those of you who would complain about government support for the arts. We only need to do that because you are so stingy with your dollars of charity.
Clearly I've digressed from a post about the performance panel at the Wharton conference this year. But the next one...or one sometime soon - will deal with the panel itself.
Getting sidetracked is all part of the academic process!