J.G Ballard (Empire of the Sun, Crash and many others) writes in his autobiography, Miracles of Life:
The funds disbursed by the Arts Council over the decades have created a dependent client class of poets, novelists and weekend publishers whose chief mission in life is to get their grants renewed, as anyone attending a poetry magazine’s parties will quickly learn from the nearby conversations. Why the taxes of people on modest incomes (the source of most taxes today) should pay for the agreeable hobby of a North London children’s doctor, or a self important idler like the late editor of the New Review, is something I have never understood. I assume that the patronage of the arts by the state serves a political role by performing a castration ceremony, neutering any revolutionary impulse and reducing the ‘arts community’ to a docile herd. They are allowed to bleat, but are too enfeebled to ever paw the ground.
I can’t help but think the state is using much the same tactic with community development workers, third sector and social enterprise communities.
Even in the for profit sector the state has fallen so in thrall of the ‘start up rate’ that many business are started in a flabby and flaccid condition because of the ‘encouragement’, soft loans and grants made available in some areas.