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Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality

Photo: Digital Art and Equality

This essay is the third in a four-part series on income ethics. The series describes my discovery of a need for income ethics, explains why we need to define our enough, discusses the problem with art and equality in the digital age (this essay), and lays out the income ethics that I have defined for my own creative work. If you'd like to follow my work, please subscribe or check back here for updates.

The art of expressing and conveying ideas through the medium of writing wasn't something I consciously learned, but rather it was a seed that sprouted inside me at an early age. Up until recently, I had only treated the growth of that seed as a passionate hobby, a fun talent that I would enjoy when I had the opportunity and the inclination to do so.

But the transition to simple nomadic lifestyle combined with the experience of traveling through developing countries had not only opened my eyes to a planetary social responsibility, it also allowed me to recognize the full potential of my creative work in a globally connected society.

The combination of feeling a planetary responsibility and recognizing the potential of my creative work necessitated the need to dedicate more of my time to sharing that work and contributing to the world in a way that best utilized my skills, talents, and passions. It was no longer enough that I dabbled in creativity when the urge presented itself.

Living as a nomad and focusing on creative work required very little income, but after a year of living hand-to-mouth and leaning on the goodwill of friends and family, it became apparent that even a simple lifestyle requires some income, a means of supporting oneself and obtaining the ability to redirect abundance to those in need.

If we're not able to fully take care of ourselves, we cannot fully help others. When our needs are met, we can serve others, and when we have more than we need, we can do more to serve.

Note: In the context of this essay, the terms 'art' and 'creative work' are used to represent a tangible manifestation of creative effort; the terms 'artist' and 'digital artist' are used to represent the individual doing the creating. There is a difference between knowledge work and creative work: the former involves the skill of understanding and working with information and the latter involves the creation of new and unique things.

The Missing 'Enough' and a Broken Status Quo

As I began to think about how I could earn a simple living through my creative endeavors, several things felt wrong about the way others were currently monetizing their creative work. I found there were no limits in place. There was no monetary ceiling, no way to be held accountable, no definition of 'enough' and no dedication to maintaining that enough.

This lack of knowing what's enough often led in one of two directions: 1) the artist stopped creating art altogether, refocusing their monetary efforts away from creating the art they loved because 'their' art didn't seem to sell, or 2) they became so successful that their work stopped being about art and instead became an automated system of receiving income; their work transitioned from the creation of art to the art of managing the flow of income.

In addition to this risk of being distracted by income, it also troubled me that putting a price on my work seemed to create and support the global inequalities that I wanted to help eliminate. For example, if I sold a piece of work for $20USD, people in the more affluent areas of the world might be able to afford it while someone in a developing country might need to spend all their wages for an entire month to make the same purchase.

As soon as I put a price on my work, I effectively caged it and created walls that many people would never be able to climb. The work would eventually disappear into a monetary black hole, dying a quiet death in the shadows where a large percentage of the world would never see it.

Isn't the point of creative work to create something that can outlast us? Isn't the reason we create to share an artistic expression of ourselves, to create a tangible manifestation of our creative effort? And if so, why would we release and share our work in a casket?

The problem of pricing digital art intrigued me the most because it was such a fundamental problem. Every digital artist I had met spoke of the difficulty in finding 'the right price' for their work. There are all kinds of strategies and tactics that can be used to gauge what prices our audience will tolerate, but that seemed like a bandaid to a bigger issue.

Pricing Digital Art in the Global Marketplace

It's only in the past twenty years that the human species has started publishing creative work en masse to a globally accessible digital medium, so I decided to think about how art in the physical world compares with art in the digital world. It's likely that the problems with digital art originate from our inexperience operating in a global marketplace and from the unconscious application of methods used for selling non-digital art in localized marketplaces.

If you want to buy an original oil painting from a well-known artist, it will cost a lot of money because that piece of work required a huge time investment from the artist. The artist is only one person and they only have so much time available to create new work.

In the digital world however, if an artist creates a piece of digital art (i.e., creative work of any type: writing, audio, video, or graphical art), they can sell as many copies of that work as they want with no additional effort and essentially no additional cost.

When it comes to pricing that work, this causes all sorts of problems.

If a non-digital artist allows his physical artwork to be copied, pricing can start with the current valuation of the original and then, based on the quality and number of copies being created, a logical price per copy can be achieved. These prices can then be based on the geographic location they're being sold to accommodate for differences in local currency.

However, on the Internet there is no such thing as an 'original' piece of artwork (original in the sense of not a copy) because all art published online is essentially a copy. And there is no quality differential per copy either, as all copies are identical in quality to the previous. Geographic location is also irrelevant as the Internet is flat and each 'netizen' is equal.

So, the price of digital art largely becomes arbitrary, based on whatever the artist feels the work is worth to them. That 'feeling of worth' is entirely relative to the local economic status of the individual and to their own valuation of money. But both of those are irrelevant online because the Internet is a global community and a global marketplace.

If we walk outside and ask our neighbor how much $1USD is worth to them, there's a good chance we can reach a mutual agreement on its worth. But if we go from a developed country like the United States to a poor country somewhere in Africa, we'll be hard-pressed to find someone with which to reach a similar agreement.

On the Internet, someone from a poor county in Africa is essentially just as close to us online as our next door neighbor. And as a result, using localized feelings of value cannot be applied online unless we're willing to exclude certain people based purely on where they were born.

For a global marketplace to exist, there needs to be a common currency. There needs to be something that everybody agrees is worth the same no matter where they're from. Without that, a global marketplace could not exist. Right now the common currency we share is the currency called 'free' and that's why the growth of the Internet can be correlated with the amount of 'free' stuff available.

But free isn't really a currency. It has no monetary value and it can't buy us food or shelter. I realized that if I chose to solve the problems of pricing digital art using the currency of free, I would need to rely on donations and/or give up the full-time creation of art to do other kinds of work.

When pure survival is at stake, a donation-based living doesn't feel right to me. Working and receiving something in return for that work feels more ethical than simply existing and asking others to support my existence. So, I needed to find a compromise that would allow me to create art full-time and still make a living.

Crossing the Bridge of Art, Income, and Equality

For over a year now I've wrestled with roadblocks related to the generation of income from creative work. I've spent months contemplating and reflecting on the crossroads of art, income, and equality and I've exchanged dozens of emails and held many conversations with friends.

But several questions remained unanswered and I refused to even attempt to earn a single penny through my creative work until I came up with at least some sort of solution that felt intuitively correct.

  • How could I put a price on my work without simultaneously caging it indefinitely?
  • How could I monetize my work without risking the distraction of income?
  • How could I ensure that all of my work remained free and accessible to everyone?
  • How could I maintain my enough and always give something back to those in need?

What I eventually arrived at was the conclusion that to cross that bridge -- to personally feel at peace with generating income from my creative work -- I needed a framework, a system for giving back, for holding myself accountable, and for ensuring that my values were not compromised.

Creating this framework meant clearly defining my 'enough' and stating upfront my commitment to giving back everything except what was needed for the lifestyle I chose to live. It meant creating a way that would ensure everyone, including those who could not afford my work, would still be given the opportunity to access, build upon, and benefit from that work.

What I needed to do was to define my ethics for generating income from creative work.

Until global equality is a closer reality, it is up to the individuals who are creating, publishing, and selling digital creative work in the global marketplace to accept the responsibility for creating their own set of ethics to ensure their art remains ethical.

Read the previous part of the series: Income Ethics: Planetary Social Responsibility
Read the final part of the series: Income Ethics: A Framework for Ethical Income

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Comment

22 Comments

  1. another fantastic piece, raam. i’ve really identified with each part of this series and i am so grateful that you’ve taken the time to put this together so thoughtfully. your passion comes through in these words.

    the thing that really struck me in this section, were these words:

    “This lack of knowing what’s enough often led in one of two directions: 1) the artist stopped creating art altogether, refocusing their monetary efforts away from creating the art they loved because ‘their’ art didn’t seem to sell, or 2) they became so successful that their work stopped being about art and instead became an automated system of receiving income; their work transitioned from the creation of art to the art of managing the flow of income.”

    i have not yet reached this level of ‘success’ in sharing my digital art; however, it is something that i have worked/work toward. i didn’t previously give thought to the fact that, yes, these are the two scenarios that i have seen time and time again. your words have inspired me to re-evaluate how i am defining the word ‘success’ and, perhaps more importantly, to re-evaluate how i will move forward if i so someday reach that place.

    • Dena, I’m so happy this series resonates with you! I’ve been thinking about this topic ever since I got back from my six-month trip to India, Vietnam, and Nepal; it’s an incredibly broad and deep topic that I still feel I’ve only scratched the surface of (I really don’t feel knowledgable enough to even be writing about it, but I’ve learned that it’s through sharing our ideas and thoughts that we can progress in their exploration).

      When I started to think about how I could earn an income through my creative work, I had no previous experience with earning from such work. So, to understand what’s involved in ‘succeeding’, I naturally looked to others who appeared to have succeeded. I also studied their journey and the choices they made to better understand what’s involved.

      However, in doing that I kept coming across choices and decisions that I knew would conflict with the long-term goals I had created after I witnessed extreme inequality during my travels. They conflicted with my sense of responsibility.

      It was also apparent that many success stories looked so similar (in their outcome and in how they got there) because they followed each others patterns and tactics. It was taking the quickest route to success without any foresight into what the long-term implications might be (I see this happening everywhere today, from environmental impact to political agendas).

      I think stepping back and taking the time to evaluate the whole picture is very important. But that’s definitely not easy. There were so many times over the past year when I had a negative balance in my bank account and I felt so frustrated that I wasn’t prepared to even start thinking about how to earn an income through my writing. The urge to jump in and follow existing strategies was strong, but I resisted and gave myself space to figure out what felt right to me. But sometimes that kind of sacrifice is necessary to insure a sustainable future. 🙂

  2. You are really forward thinking, Raam when you speak about the need for a global currency. It makes so much sense because the internet is breaking so many global barriers.

    Your words resonate for me because as you know I’ve reflected on some of these same questions.

    There’s only one place where are view is slightly different and it relates to a donation-based lifestyle, which you’ve said doesn’t feel right to you. You’ve said:

    “Working and receiving something in return for that work feels more ethical than simply existing and asking others to support my existence.”

    That presumes that receiving donations means others are only supporting your existence and not receiving anything in turn. Which is not necessarily the case if we are offering services or a product on a donation basis. The whole idea of offering (donations) is more familiar in Eastern countries, where offerings are made in a spiritual context when receiving teachings or assistance in other ways.

    I understand why it might not feel right to you. We all need to find the way that is right for us so there will be some variation.

    Thank you for exploring this topic. It’s very timely and hope many people will read your series.

    • Hi Sandra,

      Thank you for sharing your perspective. 🙂 I don’t have anything against a donation-based lifestyle. I just see it as the most difficult route for a vast majority of the population and one of the least plausible solutions for a future global economy.

      You’re right that we all need to find a way that will work for us and I’m sure that my ‘not feeling right’ about donation-based lifestyles has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family, constantly surrounded by business. Working hard for your money was a common theme, so I’m sure that has influenced my views.

      While thinking about income ethics, I’ve tried to recognize the existing systems that are in place for earning income and worked out from there. I didn’t want to throw out everything that relates to business and start from scratch; I wanted to understand how we can ethically earn an income with as few changes as possible to how we currently earn it.

      As this series is showing, I feel that a lot of it comes down to personal responsibility and the lifestyle choices we make that determine where our income goes.

  3. For me and a number of people that I know, the “solution”, for lack of a better word, has been to work for a non-profit and do the best work I can there. It isn’t perfect as the organization’s goals may not always mesh with mine perfectly but it meets my needs as a registered nurse to do work I care about but still have the safety net of an income and health benefits. I could earn much more if I worked for a for-profit company but I am more than happy with the income that I earn and it is far in excess of what I need, allowing me to create a nest egg and to make charitable contributions to other organizations that I support. I know this isn’t the solution that would likely work for you but I thought I’d add my 2cents anyway. 🙂

    • Barbara,

      Thank you for being an exemplary example of the values this entire series is based around and thank you for sharing that example here for others, including myself, to be inspired by your responsible example.

      You’ve clearly recognized your ‘enough’ and made the conscious choice to work within that, contributing your skills while still using some of your extra income to contribute to other charities. 🙂

      I have no experience working with non-profits but I’ve heard complaints from others that it’s usually impossible to ‘earn a living’ because the non-profit is so strapped for capital as it is.

      I’m curious to hear what you think about this. Do you think your field (nursing) has helped ensure you get paid an acceptable salary or do you think it has more to do with the size and/or stability of the organization?

      • Raam,
        I do think being an RN helps me to get a reasonable salary as nurses are still in short supply in many areas but it also matters where you work. There are many types of non-profit companies so I don’t think you can generalize. The salary one can earn at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is likely substantially more than one can earn at a small community non-profit that struggles to raise operating capital each year! What is more important to me is finding an organization that does work that resonates with me AND that I can get a livable salary at. My sister went to work for one large non-profit that sounded good on paper. She found though that management had a total disdain for those they served and a power-crazy corporate structure that rivaled big business. She didn’t stay. It may take a bit of searching to find the right place but this works for me.

        I can’t fix everything but I can behave compassionately every day with everyone I meet (try to anyway) and do the best work I can, where I am. The sadness and despair of the lives of some people in third world and developing countries kills me some days but focusing on what I can’t control can become counterproductive. It makes me feel powerless when in my heart I believe that if we all do the best we can with what have, where we are…the net result will be positive. Kind of the “think globally, act locally” philosophy. Hope that answers your question and sorry for rambling on and on! 🙂

  4. Hi Raam-
    it is clear you are passionate about art.
    Art has the power to transform. How can anything so remarkable be quantified ? Yet, this is exactly the element that demands worth . Art is it’s own value. And the work of artists is so important to our society, especially in these most difficult times. It is now more than ever that we need Peace. Our collective soul. And I believe through art, music, creating, this can be achieved, and this is worth all the money in the world. Do your part by supporting the artist that is You and all the other artists that need it too. This is the highest work we have to accomplish.

    • Kara, you make an excellent point: It is through art that we discover our collective soul. And for a society that is becoming more and more globally connected, recognizing that collective soul is more important than ever.

      It is through advancing our collective understanding of how all life is interconnected that we will grow and evolve as a species and that is indeed worth more than all the money in the world!

  5. Hello Raam.

    Just had another idea reading your post 😉 (yes they are a plenty)

    We have third party tools like ecwid and paypal….

    Perhaps there is a need for another that automatically adjusts pricing according to the relative income of the buyer’s country… technically it would read the buyers ip and send on information to the next step accordingly. But you’ll know more about how to implement that than I.

    PS – what is your awesome subscribe to comments thing? A plugin?

    • Hey Ali,

      Jeanie Witcraft emailed me with the exact same idea for a tool that automatically adjusts price according to the buyers country (amazing synchronicity if you didn’t get the idea from each other!).

      Here were some of my responses to Jeanie regarding this:

      * An IP address can easily be spoofed; so this method would definitely be abused.

      * While the intention is good, I think this actually maintains inequality, not reduces it. It’s effectively providing a reason for the poor to stay poor (so they get the cheaper stuff) and the rich to stay rich (so they can continue to afford higher prices).

      The way I feel that we need to close the inequality gap is to find a ceiling that everyone can work towards, not finding ways to maintain the wealth cathedrals that we currently have.

      Nobody on the planet should be allowed to have a personal income of $1 million dollars without donating heavily to society. It’s that simple. Does that belief lead us towards a socialism? Yes. Is it purely socialist? No. I believe the future of a global society will be a healthy blend of socialism and democracy, not one or the either.

      Is $15k enough to survive in the United States? Absolutely. Will most people make an effort to reduce their income (or give away excess) to stay within a $15k income range? No. But imagine if everyone on the planet voluntarily agreed on maintaining an income cap… maybe not $15k, but maybe $25-$40k per individual. And imagine they chose to take the rest of their wealth and pour it back into social programs the world over, maintaining that low income ceiling even when other countries are on the rise. Would that bridge the inequality gap? I think the answer is absolutely.

      The idea of changing prices based on where you’re from is somewhat common practice internationally, in that small vendors will automatically charge higher prices to foreigners and lower prices to locals.

      While this works in the offline world, it cannot be ported to the online world because as I said in this post, the Internet is flat. While the Internet users are physically all over the planet, online they are all in the same place (and in the context of a global society, we’re all physically in the same place too: planet Earth).

      There is no sense of distance or geographic location online. This is a hard thing to wrap our mind around because we humans are so used to thinking spatially, but once you comprehend it, it’s makes so much sense why we have the problems that we do in today’s emerging, Internet-centric global community.

      (Regarding the subscribe to comments plugin, it’s called Subscribe to Comments Reloaded.)

  6. Great piece Raam, I don’t think many people take the time to think about this because they only view their markets as Western or US-based. It is crazy how much they charge for e-books or courses even to higher income societies ($500 for an unaccredited on-line course that is essential a workbook?). They are those who have adopted a pay what you can or negotiable price model. These aren’t perfect, but could be one step closer.

    • Thank you, Katie.

      It’s definitely challenging to think globally when all you know is your local world. I certainly wouldn’t be thinking about these things had I not spent six months traveling through India, Vietnam, and Nepal. That said, any thought put into global, forward-thinking action is certainly a lot more helpful than ignoring the problem altogether.

      It’s easy to give up thinking globally when all we understand is local, but it’s in making an effort to understand the bigger picture that we can learn, evolve, and recognize the humanity in everyone, the interconnectedness of everyone on the planet.

      The pay-what-you-can model is definitely something I have considered over and over again, but I suspect that the inhuman nature of the Internet makes such models less effective online.

      It’s one thing to receive a service from someone face-to-face and then pay them whatever you feel that service was worth, but when you remove the human elements and put that transaction behind a computer screen, suddenly there’s less social pressure to accept the responsibility for making a fair exchange. (There’s also less visibly around how much work was involved in creating the product or service.)

  7. Beautiful set of essays my friend.
    Just finished reading all 3. Really looking forward how you close the series.

    I have been contemplating this same topic for a little while. I was born and raised in a third world country and only 8 years ago moved to the US. Even though I have gotten somewhat used to the lifestyle here, I still remember living there and seeing other kids walk around with no shoes. Living such there for most of my life has helped me to appreciate the things I have.

    I intend to one day go back and provide help for those in my country. A few dollars can go a long way in a developing country.

    Thank you for posts. Very inspiring.

    • Thank you, Ricardo. It has always interested me how the conditions in which we grow up affect the way we perceive the world for the rest of our lives.

      I may have visited a developing country and witnessed the poverty firsthand, but that doesn’t change the fact that I grew up in a privileged society. My thoughts and feelings are still influenced by those memories and experiences and even if I moved to a developing country, I’d still bring those childhood memories and experiences with me.

      Likewise, you may have gotten somewhat used to the lifestyle here in a developed country, but for as long as you have your childhood memories, you’ll remember what life was like then… the challenges you and those around you faced every day. As a result, I think your sense of appreciation for what you have will come more easily than those who grew up with abundance.

      I’m not saying that it’s better to grow up in poverty or that it’s bad to grow up with abundance. I’m just observing how when we recognize that our childhood affects our view of the world around us, then we can work towards creating a more balanced world-view and recognizing how despite our differences, we’re all sharing the same space.

  8. Raam,

    You have posed a difficult question and I sense that the answer will be very personal to your being. It is likely that many of those you have discussed with have given you workable models that simply don’t resonate with you. It also seems that you have asked yourself why they don’t resonate, which is all one can expect of you.

    Borrowing from some of the comments I’ve read and from some practices I have seen, I would suggest a system by which you price your art by dividing your “enough” by the number of “payments” you can reasonably expect from those who can afford it.

    I’ll share two examples with you. First, many museums do not charge an entry fee. Instead, they suggest a specific amount as a donation. That amount is calculated by dividing their monetary need by the number of visitors they expect will pay the suggested price. Some pay more, some pay less, some don’t pay at all. A second example is Kiva.org. When you loan money on Kiva.org, you have the option to donate 3.75% of the loan amount to cover Kiva’s administration fees. Some give more, some less, some nothing.

    The difference between the museum example and the Kiva.org example is that the pressure to give to the museum is greater. You are physically entering a tangible structure and expected to tell another human being whether you will support the art or not. On the internet, it is much easier to use the drop-down menu with your mouse and change the recommended donation to $0. In the case of a digital artist who is struggling to make his art affordable to all, this model may actually be exactly what is needed.

    I realize that both museums and organizations like Kiva.org are supported by other funding (tax payers, corporate philanthropy, etc.). The digital artist could seek alternate fundings as well.

    I am not sure what form you intend to sell you art in. But assuming for example that you would sell it via a monthly letter, and that you expected that 15% of your 10,000 readers to pay $1/month, you would satisfy your “enough” of $15K/year and be providing your art free of charge to 8,500 people, some of whom truly cannot afford it. With trial and error, you could charge more if too few people paid, or less if more than necessary did. Or simply use the excess from success to give back in other ways.

    As always, thank you for asking the right questions. They are far more valuable than the “right” answers.

    • Yan, thank you for sharing your thoughts here and adding to the discussion.

      In writing this part of the series, I actually had written (and scrapped) a section that used museums as an example. Except my thoughts using that example weren’t as focused as yours are on how the museum pays for its expenses.

      I was thinking more about how an art gallery that hosts multi-million dollar paintings only charges a few dollars (or nothing!) to visitors to view that art. Despite the art inside being unaffordable to most, access to it is made affordable to nearly everyone. (And in the case of paintings, “access” simply means viewing the art in person. In the case of written art, it would mean reading it; creative audio = listening, video = watching, etc.)

      And when you think of paintings and most ‘graphical’ art, the cost doesn’t come from viewing the art: everyone gets to view it. The various barriers put in place by large sums of money only appear when you decide you want to physically ‘own’ the painting — when you decide that you want to take that unique, one-of-a-kind physical object home and be able to look at it forever, for as long as you want.

      So when I think about other types of creative work, I see how they’re being exploited for limitless-financial gain using things like computers and the Internet to replicate and distribute that work on a global scale. The restrictions and prices (the walls and barriers) are maintained despite the decrease in effort required. The effortless ability to replicate and distribute that creative work on a global scale should be balanced by an increase in public access and decrease in prices.

      The Internet has no doubt already caused this to happen — there’s a lot more stuff available for free now than there was before the Internet — but as far digital artists go (i.e., creative workers, those who earn a living online with creative work), their work largely remains jailed to the masses because they’re simply carrying over models of business that are used in the offline world for physical goods (i.e., non-digital, non-easily replicated or easily-transferred goods).

      I believe the most important part of this whole discussion is the fact that we’re referring to digital goods. (I’ve been using art and creative work as examples of those digital goods largely because that’s how I view what I produce: written creative work.) The digital aspect of all this — that is the ability to replicate and distribute without any additional effort — is key to understanding how our social responsibility changes when we begin working with digital commerce on a global scale.

      The other thing I’m looking at is that as an artist and creative worker, my ‘work’ should never stop. I don’t create something and then go have it manufactured like a product and sold over and over. The Internet allows me to do this with my creative work, effortlessly replicating and distributing it over and over, but as an artist, that’s not my ‘work’. I think when a digital artist forgets that his or her job is to produce art, they get wrapped up in the ability and potential of this technological machine (the Internet) to replicate and distribute their work, and so they stop being an artist… they stop creating new work and instead maximize the use of this machine to generate income from existing work.

      The framework that I’ve worked out (which I’ll be presenting and explaining in the next part of the series) addresses this issue by giving all my non-free work an expiration date — essentially a limit to the length of time I can make money from any given piece of work.

  9. Great article!
    I’ve thought about the same problems recently. How can we make art, especially art that points out global issues and maybe even tackles them, how can we still make an income that doesn’t take too much of our time or financially distracts us from the actual artwork.

    I’ve had an idea how I can help people who want to focus on their meaningful work by spreading my ideas that are meant to inspire my readers.

    I’ve already started working on this idea and right now it’s only a matter of how long it takes my programmer to write the basics 🙂

    • Thanks, Robin!

      I think even more important than just pointing out the global issues is doing something to contribute to their solution. One could argue that pointing them out is creating awareness around them and thereby indirectly contributing to the solution, but I believe we need to take an even more active, more hands-on approach.

      As an example, Paul Masri mentioned on a different post that his company was donating 5% of every iPad Boardgame to the Amazon Conservation Association. I think tangible contributions like that are fundamental in changing the way we operate businesses.

  10. As I said, “art that points out global issues and maybe even tackles them”.

    I’m the first to say that we should do something to find solutions instead of wining aroud, hoping somebody else might do the dirty work anyway.

    Sometimes though, in cases where we feel like there was no solution to find for us, we should pass the issue on to people who might find a way out.
    Also, I think giving away our ideas to evolve in other peoples minds is one of the most important thing we can do on the way to solutions.

    I can’t wait to present my idea to the public, because it tackles the income problem and at the simultaniously creates time and a platform to create meaningful work.

    In the best situation I’d like my art to be independent from my money source, yet have enough time left for it to not get distracted by surviving.

    • Robin, I couldn’t agree with you more. I fully believe that it’s through sharing that the full value of anything is realized.

      I’ve thought a lot about separating money and art, but I think if we’re going to be full-time artists (or creatives of any type), then we need to make peace with our relationship to money. (Realizing that led me to creating my framework for ethical income.) I also think there is validity in the power of money (or currency of any type) to change the world for the better. Art is an extremely important piece of the equation, but if we can combine art and money to create a sustainable, ethical system for living, working, and helping others, then we’ll be able to piggyback on the current capitalist system to create a better way of moving forward.

Webmentions

  • Dan Goodwin October 21, 2011

    Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/BuDInpn9? Another thoughtful and open post from @raamdev

  • Manuel Loigeret October 21, 2011

    RT @raamdev: Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/YhRuTk8U

  • Cathleen Savage October 21, 2011

    Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/9ZpG6d04 « What effect do you think your creative work has on global inequality?

  • Bill Gerlach October 21, 2011

    RT @raamdev: Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/kFTJv2yr < This series keeps getting better with each post. Nice work, Raam

  • Miguel Angel Escotet October 21, 2011

    Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://j.mp/pCbkEy

  • Yan Tougas October 21, 2011

    RT @raamdev: Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/ZwyJTOWA

  • RababKhan October 21, 2011

    This series is better than the ethical plea I'm reading by H Gardner RT @raamdev: Income Ethics: Digital Art & Equality http://t.co/51oW1fKs

  • Mark D Robertson October 21, 2011

    This series is better than the ethical plea I'm reading by H Gardner RT @raamdev: Income Ethics: Digital Art & Equality http://t.co/51oW1fKs

  • Sandra Pawula October 21, 2011

    Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/9ZpG6d04 « What effect do you think your creative work has on global inequality?

  • Katie Gresham October 21, 2011

    Rethinking how we price online products–RT @raamdev: Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/9QAVMNXJ

  • Sandra Pawula October 21, 2011

    The next piece in Raam Dev's series on Income Ethics. I enjoyed the forward thinking in this article. http://t.co/gKAIvZhF

  • Lynn Fang October 21, 2011

    Awesome, thank you. RT @raamdev: Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/83JMPuCy

  • Alfredo Jenks October 21, 2011

    Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/Zbgz56VZ

  • Jackie Torres October 21, 2011

    Income Ethics: Digital Art and Equality http://t.co/CHcpAK6Z