By Dr Mark Featherstone
Two totally unrelated pieces in the current London Review of Books caught my eye: the famous art critic Hal Foster’s piece on the art market and an advertisement for the John Templeton Foundation containing excerpts of a debate on moral character and the market contained on the organisation’s website. In the former piece, Foster focuses on the expansion of the art market and the irresistible rise of Damien Hirst who has continued to sell work and make enormous profits despite the onset of the global credit crunch. The latter piece excerpts essays from some of the world’s most famous writers and theorists, including Bernard-Henri Levy, John Gray, and Michael Walzer, organised around the question ‘Does the free market corrode moral character?’ Although I read the two pieces independently, I could not help but think that Foster’s piece could shed some light on the Templeton debate and provide an interesting angle on the various positions taken by Levy, Gray, Walzer, and the other essayists.
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