The end result, as far as I can see, is that to be an "artist" in a
"lowest price rules" economy means that you are generally thought
of as an eccentric fool at best or a parasite at worst. In an
economy not driven by that lowest common denominator a greater
diversity of goods and services can survive and so too the people
that offer them.
I agree, on the whole, with your conclusions. However, I think you
may have a mistaken, or at least oversimplified, view of the US. I
feel appreciated for my creativity and craftsmanship, even if prople
can’t necessarily afford my work.
Sure, we have millions of people who may not really consider any
piece of jewelry worth more than $100, and/or who don’t care about
the subtleties to which we devote our lives. There are many crass,
undesireable, and even shameful aspects of our country and our
culture. But that is far from the whole story. It is a large,
non-homogenious country, full of all kinds of people and ideas.
There is a market for virtually anything-- you just have to find it.
Connoisseurs who appreciate every nuance shop side-by-side with
bargain hunters. And this division is not necessarily along economic
The good news is choice. It is wonderful to have prevalence of high
quality. But it’s darned hard on those who can’t afford it. Here,
there is something to fit every consumer’s need and budget. They
just have to find it.
About 6 months ago, after reading a thread on Orchid, I raised my
prices an average of 50%. My sales went up on my better pieces, and
down on the lower-end stuff. Overall income increased about 25%, I
think. As I see it, I left some of my more financially restricted
admirers behind, but the higher-end shoppers are actually more
comfortable paying more!
I don’t mean to ramble and rant. This is a tough time to be an
American. I think I am not alone in fearing that there is enough
truth in Bin Laden’s (and others’) accusations to shame us all, and
we are not used to being in such doubt about our county’s motives.
So I may be overreacting a bit. But I still believe that there is
nowhere else on earth that offers so many opportunities for the
individual and so much choice.
As a postscript, I’d like to add that I grew up very poor, though my
mother had started out well off. My husband was the first child of
penniless immigrants. We still don’t have much money, but are
solidly middle-class, well-educated, and managing to send four kids
for world-class educations. I wouldn’t live anywhere else!