From “Sustainable Development and Cultural Capital”, Paul Dalziel and Caroline Saunders, Official Statistics Research Series, Vol 5, 2009:
“Arjo Klamer (2002) is another economist who argues for going beyond economic values when measuring cultural capital (see also Klamer, 1996). He is particularly critical of approaches that focus only on the contribution of cultural capital to economic well-being (Klamer, 2002, p. 462) [The Value of Culture]:
Implied is the suggestion that additions to social and cultural capital serve the purpose of increasing flows of economic income. Yet, often the opposite may apply: people invest in their cultural capital in defiance and even denial of economic returns. People spend time on and with the arts and do not even want to know what the economic consequences of their choices are. Economic calculations interfere in friendship and may actually destroy it. The maximization of economic returns may therefore actually end up damaging the capitals that really matter to us.
Klamer (2002, p. 467) defines cultural capital simply as the capacity to inspire and be inspired: ‘Cultural capital enables us to award meanings to so-called symbolic goods and to lift us up from the drudgery of daily life. It enables intellectuals to have those energizing sparks of insight and, if I understand the theologians well, enable us to experience the grace of God. Immeasurable as it is, cultural capital appears to generate the most important values of all, the values that can give meaning to our life.’ He concedes that there are shortcomings in this definition, including problems with making it more concrete, but argues that immeasurability does not signify irrelevance. “