Topic 10: Some people argue that the government should spend money on public services and facilities, but not on the arts. Do you agree or disagree?
The role of arts in modern life is unique, providing people with entertainment and yielding various psychological rewards, such as relief from stress. Despite these benefits, the arts have been taken as luxury goods in many cases. It is suggested that public money of a city should be concentrated in projects like public facilities, which are more likely to bring immediate benefits to the public, rather than the arts. There are a number of facts indicating that this position is right.
Public facilities, widely accepted as one of the main precursorsto a city's development, should be one of the highest priorities. Those underdeveloped cities in particular, should direct sufficient funding toward public facilities. While municipaloffice buildings, courthouses and post offices are essential components of public services, libraries, hospitals, parks, playing fields, gymnasiums and swimming pools are available to the public for social, educational, athletic and cultural activities. By boosting spending on public facilities, cities are more capable to satisfy the needs of citizens and improve their standard of living.
In addition to social benefits, there are economic meritsthat public facilities can offer to communities. An integratedtransport network (maritime, land and inland waterways transport and civil aviation), for example, promises the smooth and speedy movement of goods and people in a city. Industrial products, as well as agricultural produce of a city, can be delivered to other cities in exchange for steady income. Of equal importance are public Internet facilities. Providing access to information by improving Internet and other telecommunications facilities has relevance to the ease with which businesses in a city receive, process, utilise, and send information. It is no exaggeration to say that entrepreneurs, either from home or abroad, will first examine the infrastructure of a city before deciding whether to pursue business opportunities there.
The arts, by comparison, although enabling people to see the world and the human condition differently and to see a truth one might ignore before, do not meritgovernment spending. The first reason is that the arts — referring to music, film and literature altogether—are more likely to attract the investment of the private sector than public facilities. Businesspeople continue to invest in the arts in the expectation of earning lump sum income and the arts in return, continue to flourishwithout the government spending. Meanwhile, the arts are a key component of a culture and naturally passed down from one generation to another. Unlike public facilities, they require no money to survive.
It is therefore clear that construction of public facilities should be given the foremost consideration. The concern about the well-being of individual citizens and that of a city is more acute than the apprehensionabout the survival and prospects of the arts, something that businesses have a stakein.