This book is intended to be a plea for the natural connection existing between cultural (freedom of) expression and (un-coerced transfers of) private property rights. Not only that culture is never trapped in “(free) market failures”, but it is best served by (true) free markets, as the social aggregation of free wills and whims.
The book is divided in two parts: the first one is a praxeological scrutiny over cultural economics concepts, while the second adds property rights to the scene.
Part I: Praxeology and culture
On one hand, it is explained how the “cultural” epithet cannot generate “special” epistemic effects, even though some economists interested in cultural issues say that “cultural value”, “cultural capital” and “cultural sustainability” are quite special realities, requiring special practical (and political) treatment. On the other hand, if in some sense the “cultural” aspect can underline something “special”, it is the fact that culture, as “a set of shared values, attitudes, beliefs”, is about subjective preferences demonstrated in action, voluntary inter-personal relations, as well as clearly definable and defendable property rights. The cultural mark is ultimately imprinted on various scarce material things, thus the issue of property rights is critical for their expression and circulation.
Part II: Property and culture
Cultural inner self is inexpungable and un-expropriable, but cultural habits can be delayed or distorted by usurping command over the means of expression. This essay takes an Austrian School praxeological and property-focused analysis, demonstrating that private property is better “incentivized” and “informed” than coercively-collectivistic public property in terms of fulfilling the needs of the consumers (for instance, the cultural heritage maintenance and marketing). The exercise of coercive power (even if formally “legal” and in the name of “better” values) falsifies the very sense of culture since this is, ultimately, an agora, a market for artistic and scientific ideas; it hampers the people-oriented diversity (of tastes); and it makes societies poorer both spiritually and materially.