Launch of the new CP3/Reset Working Paper, ‘Art, Culture and the Foundational Economy’ was held on 24 June at Flinders at Victoria Square, presented by Professor Justin O’Connor, University of South Australia
In recent years there has been pushback against the reduction of art and culture to their economic impacts or being turned into ‘industries’. Debate has centred on how we should (re-) balance the cultural and economic, attention focused on how we might better value the former. But what about the ‘economic’? Do we know what its value might be?
In the last fifteen years mainstream economic orthodoxy has been challenged on many fronts, from feminists, ecologists, First Nations and Post-colonial thinkers, through heterodox and dissident economists, to older Keynesian and Marxist theorists – all now confronting a different, post-neoliberal age.
One such challenge to gain increased traction has been that of the Foundational Economy Collective. Rejecting the fetishization of GDP-led growth, they foreground those parts of the economy that provide the infrastructure, services and everyday needs of the majority of citizens. Breaking with models of growth that have eroded our public services, accelerated inequalities and impoverished our sense of citizenship, the Foundational Economy sets out a practical model for a radical reformism focused on providing for essential, basic needs for everyone.
Since 1994 art and culture have been told that becoming ‘creative industries’ would lead to a seat at the government table and the resources commensurate with its new importance. Though this has failed dismally the cultural sector lack a language to go forward. Might the Foundational Economy point to a new way for the sector to think itself as part of public policy? In this lecture Justin O’Connor will outline some of the challenges and possibilities opened up by this post-neoliberal economic agenda.