View Full Version : Publicly Funded Art

06-10-2011, 11:32 PM
Milwaukee County was going to spend $775,000 on a sculpture in front of its courhouse. The Milwaukee County Executive cancelled it because of budget woes, but I thought it might be a good idea to write to the editor on these type of projects. I have not sent this in yet, so any critiques would be appreciated.

Chris Abele’s decision to cancel the proposed $775,000 sculpture outside the Milwaukee County Courthouse was correct. However, the decision was not correct because of the current budget situation; it would be correct with any budget. Publicly funded art suffers from individuals not recognizing what is unseen as described in classical liberal theorist Frederic Bastiat’s broken window fallacy. In the broken window fallacy a shopkeeper’s son accidentally breaks a window in his father’s shop. The shopkeeper hires a glazier to fix the window. Individuals seeing the fixed window falsely believe the broken window was a good thing, as it gave the glazier work. What these individuals fail to recognize is what the shopkeeper could have done with his money if he did not have to pay to fix his window. Along with having the original window, he could have purchased an item that made him personally happy, which would help employ the producer of that item. Supporters of publicly funded art point to a publicly funded art piece and say, “look what your tax dollars produced”. What is unseen is everything that could be if each one of us individually chose to spend our dollars how we best saw fit.

06-10-2011, 11:47 PM
It's a good start, but needs some developing. Make the broken window fallacy clearly relevant to the subject at hand. The bulk of this is spent explaining the fallacy rather than applying it.