While many governments are cutting funding to the arts and disingenuously downplaying the economic importance of culture, Brazil may be headed in the opposite direction.
The South American country has announced that it planned to give workers a 50 real ($25) monthly stipend to be used on cultural expenses. Recipients could use the funds to visit a museum, buy a book or attend a play, for example.
“In all developed countries, culture plays a key role in the economy,” Culture Minister Marta Suplicy explained in a television interview. “Now we are creating food for the soul; Why would the poor not be able to access culture?”
Anyone who earns up to five times the minimum wage is eligible to receive the stipend, which, according to Suplicy, could result in an additional $3.5 billion being spend in the cultural sector.