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September 27, 2002

Art and Markets

Friedrich --

Many thanks for the fascinating rundown on the economics of the Elizabethan theater. Why don't art-history professors tell kids these things? I'm still reeling, all these years later, from the shock of discovering that most art hasn't been done out of the sheer love of doing it.

I have nothing like your background in history, but I did stumble across one book on the topic of the economics of art that I found very useful, In Praise of Commercial Culture by an econ prof named Tyler Cowen. (Buyable here.)

A history of art and markets, it's a little once-over-lightly (which may suit me better than it suits you), and he isn't good on the actual art. But he's a zillion times more down-to-earth, shrewd and better-informed about such topics as "making a living at this" than the art history profs are.

Cowen teaches at George Mason, which seems to have a lively department -- Walter Williams, the libertarian econ columnist I enjoy so much, teaches there too. Cowen's own website is here.



posted by Michael at September 27, 2002


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