“But if it is gold, that will mean my quest is finished! I'll be rich! I'll never be the same again! Will clean air smell any sweeter? Will sunny days be ever brighter? Will starry nights hold any more wonder? Or will I lose all that? Do I really want to be... rich?”

Don Rosa, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, The King of the Klondike

Public authorities see culture as an attractive sector that, thanks to the low cost of “production”, can achieve high rate of return. They are also guided by the principle that the cultural offer should be verified by the market, without the state interfering in the citizens’ choices. The intermediaries in the circulation of culture are scattered, there being no dominant hubs of content or services dedicated “to everyone”.

1. Society - structure and shared values

In this scenario, we are all lonely islands - the most important is the individual, her civil rights and self-realization, especially in the economic dimension, which defines social status. Immediately afterwards is the small community one belongs to, which identifies the individual. The state does not conduct policies aimed at increasing the social capital of the community. The society is hierarchical, but there is no dramatic income inequality.

The need for cooperation is implemented in small communities such as religious groups or activism of any kind. Charity is also developed, “fishing rod, not a fish”, an action that allows others to stand on their own feet, being preferred, however.

There is no defined model of a successful life. People live in small communities, each of them having its own value system, and within them they fulfill their cultural needs. Culture here serves building local identity. The shared view is however that the determinant of success is high economic status, and the responsibility for the failure to reach this status falls on the individual.

In the moral, cultural and religious sphere there is full freedom - any kind of relationship, the strangest taste or most exotic confession can be accepted, on one condition: within one’s community.

As in any community with market-oriented or consumer-oriented attitude, there is also a large area of rebellion against defining one’s success solely in terms of economic profit and critique of development understood solely as an increase in GDP. There a pattern of a successful life is understood as self-fulfillment in an alternative model.

The raging force of creative users-makers is the glue that binds this society. Although artists act as separate archipelagos, or in their small niches, they still have prospects for self-fulfillment, a purpose, and successful life. At the same time the multiplicity of often conflicting values ​​in these acts of creation and consumption of culture means that the social fabric is susceptible to dangers of extremism.

2. Economics of culture and the creative sector

The market includes a lot of actors - in the name of real free market the state prevents them from clinging to monopolies and oligopolies, and thus gaining unjustified privileges or forming price fixings. The basis of the economy are small and medium-sized businesses, operating on the local market (or sometimes on the global market if they find a global niche). Consumers are attached to traditional brands and loyal to them - otherwise they would get lost in the plethora of offers. Due to such a large selection of goods and services and the lack of vertical integration, consumers cannot rely on convenience. In exchange they gain a humanizing contact with their service providers.

In models of cultural consumption a lot of new innovations and rapid changes in models of participation are possible- provided that a given innovation can be realized at low cost.

The multitude of business models of the markets of culture means that there are also a lot of models of participation. On the one hand, the user has at her disposal self-sufficient “walled gardens” (applications, devices in which they operate), dedicated to those who can afford to use them. She will find in them everything she needs, and what is comfortable. On the other hand, there is the growing importance of non-commercial circulation. Thanks to the low level of compliance and copyright protection (because the government does not want and cannot control strictly the communication between users) the availability of resources on the Web one can use and modify contributes to the creative boom of users-prosumers.

Artists who enjoy high status are craftsmen-entrepreneurs, the class of cultural service providers. They produce advertisements, visual identifications for companies, advertising campaigns, posters, design objects for 3D printers. Besides, they do not have too much work: the state does not subsidize authors and there are no great employers such as media companies. Therefore, if someone is not able to find work in the commercial sector, she is forced to retrain.

The third sector is underdeveloped and it does not function as a major sponsor of culture - there are several foundations that sponsor the arts, but it is more related to their educational activities.

Some hope for the author can be private patronage, but it is an offer for a limited group of artists. Furthermore, being paid by a rich sponsor has its price. Patrons will not leave one free hand, they want to have an impact on what they pay for. They prefer not subversive art; fashionable, comprised within the limits of what is currently allowed. If it is not bourgeois, it is certainly not crazy. It is relatively easy, however, to collect a small amount through crowdfunding.

The real creative ferment may be found on the Web, where both user-prosumer and amateur artist can be sure that their work will not be appropriated by big media companies or removed in the name of protecting copyright.

There is no social security system that would support professional artists socially. Individual professional groups have their pension funds, but only some artists earn enough to receive sufficient pension when they retire.

3. Situation of artists of critical or “high” art

In this scenario there is no mainstream or canon, but freedom of choice as to content and its creation. High volume work, such as opera or high-budget movie, is hardly possible, however - it would be very difficult to raise money for such a project. The success of high art is only possible within a niche.

Critical art in the classic sense of the term is marginalized because there are no mechanisms that would allow this kind of authors exist among the general public - neither sponsors nor canon, in which such art is valued highly. It has moved to “pits”, to the inexhaustible multitude of user-prosumers blessed with the privilege of total creative freedom. If their activity faces barriers they usually concern reaching the audience. The range of this type of critical works is rather limited to a narrow range of users who share concerns and ideals of the author.

4. Education

The educational offer is diverse and stratified. The vocational education is supported and controlled by the state, because the state believes the release onto the market of skilled workers is its primary goal in education. The state is also investing in educational resources rearing flexible workers and consumers - they are free of charge, but not necessarily free.

In addition, there function local schools maintained by religious organizations, parents’ councils, local authorities and various foundations. The educational framework formed by the state being very liberal, they teach what they consider appropriate.

It is believed that everyone “carries a marshall’s baton in his pack”, and can make a career if her talent is complemented by hard work. Promotion, however, means the loss of cultural identity, because each social group produces its own hermetic identity.

5. The impact of technology on the consumption of culture

Embarras de choix. The user has at her disposal a lot of services and diverse content. Everyone will find an offer tailored to her needs - specialization can be very narrow. The problem is to reach that appropriate content; hence the demand for services such as aggregating human-filters and people-routers intermediating in different ways in the circulation of culture.

Users-prosumers generate content for themselves and “close others”, hence it is difficult for virals of truly global reach. Those who manage to exist more broadly are universal, i.e. appeal to emotions or common to all humanity mono-myths, and therefore can be easily read by people with different cultural background. Because in this scenario in place of technological barriers there appears the mental barrier - the limit for the free spread of content is the identity of individual communities with their different value systems.

Innovation is possible by eliminating the need for means of production (thanks to the marriage of digital software with tools local workshops are able to do almost everything), but constrained by the lack of funds for research and development in sectors that require high investment.

Copyright law

Position of the authors is average:

Because no one - neither media companies nor the state - are able to control the dissemination of content published in violation of copyright, the copyright loses its significance. Authors earn little on royalties, making money at the time of commissioning works to the contracting authority (first-sale), on the events that sell one’s direct presence, or on crowdfunding. In this scenario collective management organizations loose their significance, and the duration and scope of copyright shorten. Authors will neither be poor nor make millions on bestsellers.

Position of the users is strong:

There are no strong lobbies of intermediaries, which would limit users’ access to content or monetize it. The scope of fair use is wide, because the state wants the economy and innovation level to profit on it. So also the users benefit. P2P networks blossom, because a large part of the population can not afford access to the commercial circulation of culture. Remixes and other forms of derived works are popular.

Position of the intermediaries is weak:

They are unable to accumulate capital and create global corporations, nor to control the circulation of content. They earn on the skillful delivery of content to niches; they also use a broad definition of fair use to create new services on a free basis (public domain or free licenses).