“Activities that are good in themselves are good for the economy, and activities that are bad in themselves are bad for the economy. The only intelligible meaning of ‘benefit to the economy’ is the contribution – direct or indirect – the activity makes to the welfare of ordinary citizens.” insisted the economist John Kay in a piece published in the Financial Times, in 2010. The contribution of arts and culture to the society has been usually measured in the light of economic benefits. Nevertheless, is it possible to put a value on culture, and if so how? Can we measure culture outside of a monetary framework?

The first pitfall would be the division of culture’s benefits instead of considering it as an interdependent whole, be it a social, educational, economic benefit or even a diplomatic benefit. The key would be to consider the value of cultural activity not only in terms of economic benefits, but also in terms of contribution to the overall society’s well-being.

Politicians should consider culture in that perspective and reaffirm its non-economic values. More than financial support, arts world and culture need a firm public support that insists on its intrinsic value.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com