Saturday, 12 October 2013

Why we should all have been artists, actually

I've respected Andrew Marr's writing for years, since his days as a columnist on the Independent on Sunday.  

To be honest, it is that print journalism that I remember.  Broadcasting is so ephemeral that it is really hard to remember more than a few snatches.  I wonder if that is one of the reasons why he revealed that he wished he had been an artist.

This is not how the technocrats see things, of course.  They prefer to label people definitively so that they can count them, but most of us break out of categories and I believe most of us also hanker to create.

I've written three novels (see Leaves the World to Darkness, for example) and rather too many poems for the good of the world.  But the fact that I managed it gives me great satisfaction too.  I have produced physical books (yes, the website of The Real Press needs updating, but I have lost the code - a shocking revelation).  Yes, I want to create too.

I know conventional economics suggests that we hanker to consume.  I think we also hanker to produce, and more of us are finding ways to do that.

This is not a new idea.  Alvin Toffler came up with the concept of a pro-sumer in the 1980s.  But it is beginning to happen, with artisan foods and Etsy and creative writing workshops until we are knee deep in them.

And this is also the antidote to the inhumane idea that we should be one thing, and the failed economic doctrine of comparative advantage, where one place in the world specialises in making radios and one place carrots, and the rest of us get poorer.

The truth is that we are creative, diverse people, and the more we produce as well as consume, the more money money will flow locally as well as internationally, and the more we will claw back a little economic self-determination.

Well balanced economies require both, and preferably near to each other - even better if we are both doing both functions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We may all want to be artists, but it only takes a quick look around the bits of the internet where amateurs hawk their wares to become (often painfully) aware that most of us simply don't have the ability to be so.