NYC art installation asks passersby how they feel about capitalism
“Capitalism works for me. In my life this is: true or false.”
That’s the choice being posed to passersby in Times Square in New York City over the next few days as part of an art installation.
The artist, Steve Lambert, says he wanted to create something that would make people reflect on how capitalism affects them and others in their own lives and initiate conversation about it.
So how do you get people to reflect, and not argue? Lambert’s first thought was to make it personal. It’s not about whether capitalism works for the U.S., or for the government, or for the world, he says — “it is, capitalism works for me!” He says making an issue personal stops arguments — something, he joking says, that he learned from decades of therapy.
Back in Times Square, many of the people I encounter are ambivalent, even embarrassed, to talk about capitalism. Eve Ting, who works in Times Square, says she drinks coffee at Starbucks and buys clothes at Uniqlo. She starts laughing and says, “I feel like this is a confession.”
Or take freelance designer Daniel Dunnam. “I work from home, I work my own schedule, I make lots of money, I have insurance,” he says. “I have a very charmed existence, and I’m aware of that, so obviously the system is working, right? But then I started thinking about it, and I realized that I’ve got people in my family, or even just friends, who it’s not working for them, and I decided that if it doesn’t work for those I love and who I care about, then it doesn’t work for me.”
Then there are those who can’t make up their mind. Laura Wenus walks up to the podium and starts talking to Lambert. Capitalism has benefited her, she says, but “I don’t know if I can live with the moral dilemma of having benefited while others have actually suffered from it.”
Lambert tells her it’s up to her to decide. “Why is this such a tough decision?” she says. “No offense, but it’s just a billboard, you know?”
Lambert says his main purpose is to get people to slow down and ponder. He says people always ask him, “What alternative are you proposing?” He always says, “Something better.” They ask what that means, and he says, “We don’t know yet.”
That last part sounds a lot like being at an Occupy protest.
The sign was first erected about two weeks ago, where an early round of voters weighed in on the question. While the votes favored “false” a little more heavily, it was actually closer than I imagined it might be. One “true” voter had this additional observation of interest, via the NY Times.
When the polling ended at 5 p.m., the tally on the scoreboard, which will return to Times Square for another round of voting Oct. 6-9, stood at 93 for capitalism, and 109 against. Business in Times Square seemed to continue as usual.
But at least one “true” voter, James Wallace, 43, from Manhattan, spotted a hidden note of realism in Mr. Lambert’s idealistic project.
“The sign doesn’t say ‘Capitalism is perfect,’” he said.
This next round of voting runs from October 6 through October 9, where people can vote between 5pm and 7pm.
If you’re in or around New York, perhaps you might be interested in stopping by to vote.
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De Blasio walks by, presses the True button with great ceremony, and is immediately struck dead by a lightning bolt. Great theater.
People are amazingly ignorant of economics.
It’s almost like it was planned, or something…
Here’s a lil’ bit of antedote–
How about all these idiots check the scoreboard for the number of corpses under Communism and National Socialism?
Capitalism was invented by Karl Marx to make Communism look good. It does not actually exist anywhere in the world. Free markets, on the other hand, which are often confused with Capitalism, would work very well if only we gave them a chance. But our current president prefers Fascism while most of Congress prefers Crony Capitalism.
So, why exactly is this guy asking about something that has no basis in reality?
Amazing how in a true blue area filled with guilt and shaming attempts, Capitalism works for me got that many votes.
If I were in NYC and had a little time I’d stand beside the exhibit with a sign reading “WILL PAY YOU $1.00 TO PUSH YES.”
A more ironic approach would be to offer more, money to push no, but that could get very expensive.
I may be a capitalist, but I’m not rich…
Daniel Dunnam doesn’t sound very smart.
Without capitalism that artist would have starved to death already – starving artists……..starve…but this one of the project got much public tax dollars for it I think.
NPR? National Propaganda Radicals?
You bring up an interesting historical point…
During the Middle Ages, artists had to work to find a patron. Their art conformed to the tastes of the patrons. Often that was ONE noble or the church.
As markets developed, art became more democratic…and MUCH more free. Yes, an artist could not produce art that NOBODY wanted to buy, including composers. BUT there were NOW thousands of patrons of the arts, as people became wealthier generally, and had income to dispose on art.
Today, we have people like this dope who produce “art”…often that NOBODY BUT the GOVERNMENT will buy. The new barons and patrons of the “arts”.
The scoreboard, brought to New York by the French Institute Alliance Française and Times Square Arts as part of the Crossing the Line arts festival…and the artist is Steve Lambert..
Yelp! Tons of tax payer money behind that I bet.
No wonder the French government is going “le nuts!”
“France Vows to “Save the Bookstores”, Fixes Price of Books, Bans Free Shipping by Amazon
Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2013-10-04T09:19:00-07:00&max-results=3#JzkU6l4PjhsPEGIY.99
Maybe a year working in Cuba under socialism might change their minds about whether Capitalism works for them.
What is this goof talking about? I suspect that no real “capitalists” (in the sense that, say, Marx used the word) happened on his little display. So, is he calling “capitalism” any economic system in which people work for a living? Some respondents seem to think so. So, if more clearly stated, he must be asking “does capitalism (ie, working for a living) work better for you than some other system (presumably, one in which some benevolent entity gives you money or other resources without you having to do anything to earn it)?” But even that isn’t a legitimate question unless this benevolent entity does (or at least can) exist. Otherwise he’s just asking, “Would you prefer working for a living or waiting around for somebody to offer you a free unicorn?”
1. Ah yes, NPR. I clearly remember that when Gus Hall died, they broadcast a eulogy without ever mentioning that he was a Communist.
2. Extract from the linked report:
One would think that the Left’s tactic of making their opponents run against an imaginary Utopia would be transparent and fail miserably. People like this are why the Left has so much success with it.
Moreover, the question explicitly stated In my life this is: true or false, and the above respondents explicitly disregarded the condition. They seem too screwed up to openly express their self-interest: as the saying goes, too screwed up to know they’re screwed up.
A lot of people don’t understand that they can’t understand.
So, Steve Lambert asking people a question makes him an artist? If that is the case I guess all the people at Gallup are Leonardo da Vinci to the power of 100 (or 1000)? I understand they ask a lot of questions.
LukeHandCool’s upcoming interactive pop-art statement installation:
TRUE === works for me! === FALSE
“Making an issue personal stops arguments”? Not in the real world. It makes them worse as we’ve seen this past week in the House, the Senate and from the President and his White House.
I mentioned that Chad Henderson is a fake “enrollee” and a person named “Nietzsche” on twitter comes at me with a stat about 11,000 in Kentucky. I ask for the source of that stat (I eventually tracked it to a speech by The Won on October 3) but instead Nietzsche decides to go personal and puts up this: https://twitter.com/Nietzzzzsche/status/386253182038724608/photo/1
Warning: It makes reference to a certain type of body function
I knew then that Nietzsche had no interest in any real conversation beyond Obamacare talking points.
Simply solution: kill yourself.
Those that select ‘no,’ should immediately be assigned their tiny government apartment, and be immediately assigned to their dreary, dead-end government job.
Of course, their iphones should be confiscated, though they may keep their bicycles.