Err, yes, and?

The Trust points out that the existing document emphasises economic growth as a major driver for development. Although it mentions open spaces, sport and leisure as important factors to consider there is no mention of culture or the arts.

In a response to the Minister’s current plans it said: “An arts facility (for example, one supporting young people in productive cultural activities that deters them from crime) that does not fall easily into existing use classes or a theatre which is not statutory listed, could be demolished to make way for shops, offices and housing, leisure or sports facilities.”

So, if offices or housing are a better use of the land than a theatre then, because offices or housing are a better use of the land we\’d rather have offices or housing on the land rather than a theatre.

It\’s entirely possible that you personally, or you as a group, think that the theatre is worth more though: in which case buy it and prove it. Prove that you value the theatre more that is.

Of course, you could agitate to get the law changed so that your, not everyone else\’s, value system gets enshrined in legislation but to do so would be most naughty, a gross imposition of your wishes upon the rest of society. You know, greedy, vile, not nice at all.

5 comments on “Err, yes, and?

  1. Theatres in general may have less utility than offices or flats, but youth clubs are proven to reduce crime, particularly in poorer areas. Closing them entirely would be a folly.

    There is another issue: a theatre, once converted to offices, is unlikely to ever be turned back into an office. Developers would dearly love to convert most of London’s old theatres into offices, but they are protected by the local authority (as I recall). Should we encourage the destruction of theatreland and its cultural relevance, as well as the associated loss of tourist revenue (hotels, restaurants, bars), purely on a financial basis?

    (Probably yes: the tourist revenue would be offset by higher-spending business revenue from the new offices. Theatre companies would spend more time touring the country and bringing new shows out of London.)

  2. a lot mof assumptions there, Andrew….theatre tends to be labour-heavy, working for peanuts while dragging through a lot of income through drinks, literature, meals etc…..some hard data would be good…eg does the pub under the Finsborough theatre do better now that it is under a theatre than it used to?

  3. Whether theatres or the ‘arts’ in general have a cost-benefit ratio less than unity is begging the question that their funding is a legitimate function of government. I think State funding of the arts is at best preposterous and at worst sinister. And scrapping the DCMS, Arts Council etc. would be worth it for no other reason than the joy the deafening shrieks of the luvvies would bring me.

  4. Is not funding of the arts rather like the funding of statues – it exists because every country does it .
    A london full of office blocks would be a bit hard to cherish.

  5. All:

    Everyone needs protection from assault and fraud as well as defense against potential foreign
    aggression; whatever is the majority consensus
    of “how much” of those services is proper can justifiably be required paid by all individuals as t taxes. Purposes other than those do not qualify as common goods which all require or might desire to the same extent. It is true that such adornments of civilized society may benefit all to some extent and under some circumstances. But equally (and observably) true is different folks vary widely not only estimating value of such adornments but in ability and willingness
    to pay. Where is justice in requiring payment
    via taxation for a large (and always growing) panoply of parks, libraries, schools, museums, zoological and botanical exhibits, and, as mentioned, statues and other displays?

    If there were sufficient numbers with sufficient means for any of these items’ construction and maintenance, then, by all means, they should have them and to their hearts’ content but at their own expense–without burden to those with lesser interest (or none whatsoever). In some cases, these might be profitable ventures, generating (rather than costing) tax revenue; in others, collection of contributions (from the willing) might be administered by trusts set up for the purpose; in others, combinating such financing methods might do the trick. Present methods (over a good portion of the world) are merely a method for the rather well-off to finance their particular preferences while transferring some (usually significant, though not always the greatest) portion of the costs to others with no interest whatever in the project and far less ability to pay.

    Such ventures belong rightfully in the private sector–an arrangement with demonstrable benefits not available to government, no matter how wise or well-meaning. First and foremost is that no one need be required (i.e., forced) to pay for what he does not want nor use. But, nearly as important, a private entity will be under the pressure of the market to operate whatever is the enterprise–with such attention to economy as to generate profit instead of loss (or cease operation entirely or turn it over to another set prepared to deal with such deficit while “giving it a go”). Zero cost for unelected bureaucratic managers operating according to their own priorities and, especially, to those taxpayers with no interest whatever in that particular project.

    Government, by its nature (and no matter what the form) is constitutionally unfit to manage effectively (in the business sense of making profit and avoiding loss). So–why burden the ignorant with that for which they are unfit? They are unfit because they are ignorant and they are ignorant because they are government, not enterprise interested in and conditioned on making profit and avoiding loss.

    Now, I will grant those in gov’t. will fight tooth and nail to retain these perquisites (and deny their utter unfitness for purpose) but the results are everywhere obvious (for those despising theoretical analysis, insisting on “empirical evidence”). Such evidence is all around us: virtually every government in the world is drowning in a sea of such “empirical evidence” from which most acknowledged expert economists suggest nothing can be done except repetitions by those governments of what has been done before in some other, arguably similar circumstance or, possibly, the very same by governments “changed” by substitution of (slightly) different individuals.

    We (you, me, everyone, everywhere), if we wish to save the civilized world from further and more precipitous decline, must cut back government and its accompanying ineptitude–ideally, all the way back to its original and only legitimate function: exercise of force to protect all subject to its jurisdiction: the police power and national defense. Everything else involves growing waste, graft, stupidity, and corruption which we eventually (right now) will be unable to longer afford.

    Please note that police and defense cannot be privatized without risking complete loss of freedom. Nor can government operate police and military forces with any greater freedom from inefficiency, waste, graft, and corruption than other facets of the national economy; it’s simply that, having removed those destructive elements from all other facets of our economic lives, we’ll be well able to afford that irreducible minimum; it will seem, by comparison, a pittance.

    A “Happy New Year” to all.

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