Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Potential hour credits and creative activity

When describing the usefulness of potential hour credits I used the example of a writer. Indeed, it is with artistic works that the benefits of the proposal are most obvious. Few artists are fortunate enough to receive paid commissions or advances to develop their works; people give large amounts of their time and effort to such endeavours. This could include music, poetry, novels, short stories, dramatic works, paintings and sculpture.

Most artists would no doubt like to make a living from their artistic works and hope that if they produce works then these will enable them to develop a career as a paid artist. Alternatively, the works they produce without any outside support might later prove to be valuable. If artists have no way to obtain hour credits for this activity then in an hour credit society it would be much more expensive (in opportunity costs) for people to engage in creative activity: if it does pay off then the proceeds will be taxed at a relatively high rate.

Potential hour credits would enable people working on these to register the time they spend (up to a limit each week) on their creations. It may be sensible to ask them to provide evidence of the work on which they are engaged, such as descriptions, photos or samples of work in progress. Perhaps receipts from time spent in a recording studio would be another example of proof that would make claims for potential hour credits more likely to be successful.

Another form of creative activity that could be accounted using the same system would be individual inventors who are working on their own without any outside investment. They could provide information about the project and register potential hour credits in this way. Again, if the resultant patents or companies become successful then these potential hour credits can be converted.

Live performances would presumably only count as hour-credit worthy if they are paid and so would not count for potential credits. However, a more expansive option would be to take account of practice time and unpaid performances for artists, performers and musicians (up to a maximum of something like 4 or 5 hours per week). These could be drawn upon if the performers later make money from their performances.

Inventors or artists who work with the support of a larger institution or company would not need potential hour credits—they would receive these from their institution. However, those who create items on their own would be ideal candidates for potential hour credits which could be upgraded at a later date to fully-fledged ones. Registering works-in-progress could also be very useful in dealing with Copyright and patent disputes. (It would raise the question whether potential hour credits could be upgraded after the creator has died. I will not discuss this here, but would be inclined to say they should not).

Potential hour credits could help reduce the greater disparity that would otherwise arise between supported and unsupported artists and inventors. Since those with talents and good ideas sometimes receive recognition very late it may be sensible to provide some encouragement by allowing them to register their activities. 

No comments:

Post a Comment