Friday, September 18, 2009

The Disfunctional Art Market

Despite numerous laws to the contrary, illicit art trade has nevertheless been increasing.:
If one were to devise a badly flawed market, one would be hard-pressed to surpass the antiquities trade. The reasons for this are numerous, but can be attributed to two main factors: a restricted supply and a trade plagued by anonymous buyers and sellers often shielded by auction house practices and traditions.

1 comment:

  1. And, of course, there's another big factor: people who buy fancy art are RICH. It's no big deal if ghetto-folks get shot en masse in a botched drug raid, but police do not typically storm gated communities and throw grenades into auction houses.

    Rich people can buy fancy lawyers to argue up and down about how the laws should be twisted.

    Ultimately, the people who really care about the issue are going to be the tiny fraction of people who really care about either art or archaeology or cultural identity. (Although the "cultural identity" demographic is growing in the Western world, as more and more men get angry as they realize their lives are not ever going to get the happy endings they had been promised...)

    Conversely, the people who cared about hemp were a much larger and more active fraction - the nylon industry, the hemp-smokers, etc.