|Originally posted by Renegade |
Post-modernism in a 4th year economics subject. Hooray.
Rajani Kanth suggested that “economics has always been a material, practical science of social engineering, not an abstract science inquiring dispassionately into the eternal verities of the economic order” (Kanth, 1992, p.89) and many point to the decline (real or imagined) of local cultures (in the capacity of food, dress, language, etc.) as evidence that ideological imposition of economic liberalisation is having a deleterious effect on cultures around the world. However, in doing this we must recognise that in a capitalistic system cultural production is essentially democratic: at the risk of committing what Marx called “commodity fetishism”, if people wish to continue consuming “traditional” cultural artefacts then market-based capitalism is surely no hindrance to that. Theoretically at least, consumer sovereignty puts economic production – including cultural production - squarely in the hands of the people.
(Forgive the shitty formatting. MS Word doesn't translate that well to VB code.)
I don't know about the second last paragraph where you claim that capitalisim allows for democratic production of culture.
It would be correct to say that it allows for the democratic production of directly profitable culture but has nothing to do with forms of culture that are either not created with the intention of being profitable or which derive profits from more complicated mechanisims.
One example would be the investment of a wealthy industrialist in the creation of a work of art. The work that is commissioned has nothing to do with democracy, it has more to do with nepotisim and the personal preferences of the industrialist. This example also has the knock on effect that a single patron, the industrialist, could effectively launch the carrer of the cultural producer by giveing them more of a portfolio.
Another example would be Rupert Murdoc who uses cultural manipulation through the very direct control of a massive network of media providers to forward his own political agenda.
Culture in capitalisim is only democratic in cases where a work is created strictly with the intention of maximizing returns through the sale of a product. Even in this case democracy is defined as 'one dollar one vote'.