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Justin O’Connor

This chapter argues that any cultural policy must address both the small-scale local economies and the large-scale corporate cultural industries. Many working in arts and culture have long been sceptical about "cultural and creative industries", certainly after the global financial crisis and the austerity that followed. The chapter makes the case for a robust assertion of the role of state funding for culture as part of local development, and how we might reframe this social investment. A local SME economy will necessarily be trading outside the local area, and, especially in the cultural sector, with very dispersed partners and clients. The vision for growing a cultural infrastructure should be seen as social investment in public wealth building, one that requires a new set of principles, procedures, and policy tools. The revival of a flourishing professional cultural sector would add to local prosperity and liveability on social, cultural, and economic registers.

in Culture is not an industry
Justin O’Connor

Neoliberalism may be dead as a coherent political project, but many of its policy settings and cultural shibboleths remain. This chapter draws on the work of the Foundation Economy Collective (FEC), a loose grouping of scholars and activists in a conversation that has evolved since its early iteration. It introduces both the FEC's zonal account of the economy, and the more recent concept of liveability. The chapter tries to provide an analytical schema to frame culture's public policy role, and sketches how this might work in the current conjuncture. Cultural policy is caught between an expansive, idealistic view of its fundamental social role and the impoverished reality of its own intellectual, institutional, and political resources. The FEC disaggregate the singular model of the economy as envisaged by GDP modelling. FEC empirical studies have shown how the foundational economy is centred on supplying local economies, tending to employ locally.

in Culture is not an industry
Justin O’Connor

This chapter discusses the current situation of "polycrisis" as neoliberal capitalism gives way to a period of uncertainty and insecurity. The author pans out to look at the wider crisis of neoliberal capitalism, in which the undermining of the post-war consensus has resulted in widespread inequality and precarity, leading to a deep sense of social disintegration. He uses feminist social theorist Nancy Fraser to argue that the current crisis is not just "economic" but involves the ecological, political, and social systems on which capitalism relies, even as it disavows and undermines them. The chapter looks at how culture is being left out of the new transformative agendas that have emerged in the last decade. Attention is being paid to all those aspects of social life ignored or eroded by the GDP-centric growth models of the last forty years. The systemic failure of capitalism was framed as an internal economic contradiction.

in Culture is not an industry
Reclaiming art and culture for the common good

This book is about what happens when we turn culture into an industry, and how we can fix this. Culture is central to what it is to be human, to live in a social world. The key argument of the book is that culture, as an object of public policy, should be moved out of "industry" and back into the sphere of public responsibility alongside health, education, social welfare, and basic infrastructure. The book outlines the policy context for Chris Smith's adoption of "creative industries", a folding of art and popular culture into a dynamic new knowledge economy. It discusses the current situation of "polycrisis" as neoliberal capitalism gives way to a period of uncertainty and insecurity. The book confronts the common idea that culture is a luxury, something to be enjoyed after the essentials have been met. It outlines the Foundation Economy Collective's foundational approach, showing how it can be applied to the cultural sector. The book argues that any cultural policy must address both the small-scale local economies and the large-scale corporate cultural industries. It addresses the question of the everyday local economies of small and independent businesses. These were addressed by the Greater London Council, whose "SME approach" was very influential in New Labour's adoption of cultural and creative industries.

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Emma Barrett

Chapter 1 examines the ideas and ideology that informed Thatcherism’s overarching free market philosophy, from the re-constitution of macro- and microeconomic policy to the introduction of free market reforms. These were crucial in shaping financial reforms but there was a parallel set of macroeconomic objectives which also drove reforms. With trade in government debt periodically halted by gilt-edged buyers’ strikes in the 1970s and early 1980s, and the real possibility that this could topple a government, being able to sell government debt at a time and in the quantity of the Government’s choosing was a form of statecraft. The Thatcher government’s preferred means to this end – the introduction of an auction system to sell gilts – required structural reform of the Stock Exchange system because auctions were technically impossible under existing rules. Having come to this conclusion, the Government sought to harness international capital (to redress the increased volatility associated with auction systems) and ensure new technologies were captured by the Stock Exchange for it to remain a relevant, central global market. Thus, capital and new technologies were not just forces for change, they were elements to be exploited and, in the case of technology, controlled – at least for the critical period. The chapter considers the legacies of Thatcherite financial reforms, including the establishment of a new consensus on Britain’s political economy as the City came to represent a growth model for the economy, and the ramifications – including the Government’s role in the origins of subsequent financial crises.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
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culture and democracy
Justin O’Connor

Culture is central to what it is to be human, to live in a social world. This introduction provides insights into the key concepts discussed in the chapters of this book. The book is about what happens when we turn culture into an industry, and how we can fix this. While reformers and radicals call for a new social contract based on securing these basic services, rarely do they include culture. The book argues that culture needs to be radically divested from its identification with "creative industry". "Cool Britannia" proclaimed the arrival in power of a "Gen X" whose youth and early adulthood had been spent almost entirely under the eighteen-year rule of the Conservatives. Completely at home in the pyroclastic explosion of 1990s media and popular culture, the Union Jack guitars connected this youthful cohort to a previous moment of pop modernism in the "Swinging Sixties".

in Culture is not an industry
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Emma Barrett

Beset with the economic and political conditions of the 1970s, the Conservatives in opposition and early office were, according to insider Sir Adam Ridley, ‘dealing with what they thought were existential problems, about the survival of capitalism’. This chapter introduces the concept of ‘survival capitalism’ as a term for the responses and strategies that were developed by a myriad of actors and institutions in reaction to seemingly existential threats. They crafted these using networks of influence to ensure capitalism not only survived but thrived in a challenging period of global economic change. Ultimately, this led to the expansion of capitalism as it became an agent of change, driving popular capitalism. The chapter argues reforms were culturally informed and highly contingent while the role of capital was complex; it was harnessed by the nation state for reasons of statecraft and not simply a vector for change. The literature on Thatcherism, conservatism, neoliberalism, the City and the Big Bang is explored, and the stock market system explained. Methodologically, the focus is on archival sources and oral histories. The benefits of attending to culture and intent are expounded. Both cut across structure and agency and take account of circumstances, ideas, policies, culturally constituted institutional preferences and objectives, actions and reactions. Finally, structure is explained. The book begins with the authorities – the Government and the Bank of England – before moving to the London Stock Exchange which forms a bridge with two case study chapters on elite stockbrokers Cazenove and Lloyd’s of London.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
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Emma Barrett

Chapter 5 opens with a White House ceremony in which the President of the United States presented five astronauts with the Lloyd’s Silver Medal for Meritorious Service in 1984. The British Ambassador deemed the ceremony ‘a brilliant stroke of public relations genius’ by Lloyd’s after it had successfully commissioned a space odyssey – at a cost of $180m – to recover two rogue space satellites. The event exemplified Lloyd’s pioneering spirit and leading edge in world insurance, signified it was a major force in the United States and hinted at Lloyd’s influence with government. This chapter’s ethnographic approach highlights tensions between tradition and modernity at Lloyd’s and show how beliefs, meanings and historic memory impacted modern business practices. Lloyd’s skilfully navigated Thatcherism, demanding government support and recruiting from government on the one hand and resisting government interventions on the other. Relationships with the British Embassy and the UK Treasury were successfully exploited when Lloyd’s strove to retain beneficial trading arrangements with the US to the relative detriment of US domestic companies. State intervention in, and protection of, markets extended to the ‘Reconstruction and Renewal’ of Lloyd’s in the 1990s, which amounted to an early example of a networked rescue package for an institution too big to fail. Challenging vested interests and ending restrictive practices is a hallmark of neoliberalism long associated with Thatcherism. Yet, by demonstrating government pragmatism, classical forms of governance, and the failure to disrupt privileged interests and restrictive practices, this chapter disrupts traditional understandings of Thatcherism and neoliberalism.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
Emma Barrett

This chapter opens with perhaps Sir Nicholas Goodison’s last interview on reform of the London Stock Exchange in which he reflected at length on his role and legacy. It explores the struggles of key individuals to formulate and sell a reform agenda and considers how modernising reforms were shaped by embedded habits, traditions and rules. Stressing continuities as well as change in the City, it describes the ongoing importance of relationships forged on the Stock Exchange floor and also highlights the enduring role of City clubs (where several interviews for the book took place). They helped to maintain an old order during uncertain times, for instance by vetting the credentials of newcomers. Using the new Douglas French Archive, the chapter also casts light on relationships between the City and government; shows how practitioners and enterprises understood the opportunities and threats they faced; and how practitioners sought to shape reforms. A mini case study of Barclays Bank explains its foray into integrated investment banking, while a focus on Warburg and Greenwell’s shows how the distinct cultures of these famous firms shaped their particular Big Bang strategies and the City more generally. Shining a light on the dynamic reform process, and the way it was shaped by networked individuals and embedded culture and practices, counters narratives of inevitability and underscores the historically specific nature of neoliberal reforms.

in ‘Survival capitalism’ and the Big Bang
Justin O’Connor

This chapter confronts the common idea that culture is a luxury, something to be enjoyed after the essentials have been met. It argues that freedom is as foundational to humans as satisfying material needs, and that art and culture provide a crucial site through which this freedom is articulated. The chapter draws on the work of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum to talk about capabilities, both the right and the effective means to engage fully in art and culture. It discusses the ways in which culture is an ongoing conversation between past, present, and future, and how this conversation has been reduced to postmodern flattening and market agnosticism. The chapter outlines Anna Coote and Andrew Percy's argument that needs are indispensable for life and are satiable; wants are not indispensable, and, unlike needs, "they vary infinitely and can multiply exponentially."

in Culture is not an industry