We need a basic income for the good of the arts and journalism

The arts and journalism are dying. It’s time for the Government to step in.


In some ways both the arts and journalism haven’t really changed at all. The traditional forms have stayed exactly the same. The rise of the internet has given us access to a greater audience and one which demands more content, but the audience themselves are unwilling or unable to pay for that. So as the arts and journalism do what they’ve always done, they are at risk of slowly going into extinction.

Neither of these fields could even be accused of being diverse. Authors of colour are routinely shut out of the publishing industry. With the rise of the internet now, it is possible for more people to publish but indie authors rarely have the sheer power to compete with the traditional publishing houses. White allocishet abled people have a stranglehold on publishing. Journalism is just as bad. It’s always been dominated by white middle class allocishet ableds who have gone to Oxbridge. This badly impacts our perceptions of the world when the most dominant media is created by people with exactly the same identities and experiences. Diversity is needed to inform people about the world, and to produce relevant content. A narrow field is never good competition.

“A narrow field is never good competition”

Recently, an argument about journalism broke out on Twitter about whether journalists should accept gigs with awful brands like The Sun. We do not endorse racist or bigoted publications in any way – and people who work at such organisations should be called out. However, the debate misses the point and plays to the rules of capitalism – a system that we should be working to dismantle.

A basic income ensures that nobody is punished by poverty. It also guarantees greater diversity in the arts and journalism, two fields which are vitally important to our society and two which have been gradually devalued. If people have a basic income, they are more likely to be able to pursue their own careers on their terms and not struggle along with zero money for support or marketing. Additionally, grants should be made more readily available for individuals and collectives. The monopoly in publishing and journalism must end.

For people to receive a wage no matter what they do or who they are, ensures that creativity is protected and that people can pursue their dreams without fear. It is exactly what the arts need.

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