Why are Artists Poor – the book

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Why are Artists Poor – The Exceptional Economy of the Arts – book

Fourth print. Translated in

Japanese,    Chinese,     Korean,     and  Farsi.

Below you can read the text on the backcover including a recommendation by Deirdre McCloskey.

ORDER THE BOOK ON LINE as print or e-book



in Dutch: ANEKDOTEN bij de aanvang van elk
CONTENTS of the book.

Cover text

Most artists earn very little. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of aspiring young
artists. Do they willing or unwilling give to the arts? Governments and other institutions also give to the arts. They often subsidize the arts to raise the low incomes. But their support is ineffective: subsidies only increase the artists’ poverty.

The economy of the arts is exceptional. Although the arts operate successfully in the marketplace, their natural affinity is with gift-giving rather than with commercial exchange. People believe that artists are selflessly dedicated to art, that price does not reflect quality and that the arts are free. But is this true?

This unconventional multidisciplinary analysis explains the exceptional economy of
the arts. Insightful illustrations from the practice of a visual artist support the analysis.

Hans Abbing is a painter, a photographer and an economist. As economist he
lectures at the Faculty of History and Arts at the Erasmus University in

Who but Hans Abbing could write such a book, combining penetrating economic analysis and a studio-level grasp of what’s really going in the art world?  And it is
openhandedly written, accessible to lay people of all sorts–whether non-economists or non-artists.  A triumph, and a sure best-seller.
Deirdre McCloskey, Professor of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago