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Opera alone adds $1.15 billion yearly to US economy

Details of the BEA/NEA report right here.

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Comments

  1. That’s impressive. That’s almost as much as two days in Iraq.

  2. Forgive my economic ignorance, but how does it “add to the economy?” The money spent on opera (all well spent, I believe) doesn’t come from outer space. Isn’t it money that otherwise would have been spent on other things? A dollar more for opera, a dollar less for domestic wine, or football games?

    • This is actually correct. The claim that it “adds to the economy” is actually misleading, and a product of the way in which the size of that economy is measured – chiefly through the summing of transactions to produce the GDP number. The only way to increase the size of an economy in any material way is to increase the production of goods and raw materials. Opera and music in general contribute no material benefit to the economy (I do not regard consumption as a material benefit, as it merely involves moving capital from Peter to Paul, as you point out). Their non-material benefits, however, are innumerable, and do much to drive the economy in a significant way, though this contribution is largely obscured by reducing economic benefits to the sum of transactions within a given system.

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