The Polish state acquired Leonardo da Vinci’s “Lady with an ermine” together with the rest of the collection of the Czartoryski family. Sadly, this important cultural event has served as a starting point for new conflicts. Political – because the previous ruling party stated it would not do that; social – because why would aristocrats profit on works bought for money generated by the hard work of others; economical – because why would the state buy something that would not leave Poland anyway.
President of Employers of Poland Andrzej Malinowski writes for “Rzeczpospolita”:
– I do not intend to settle these disagreements: particularly given that the arguments raised by interested parties should be thoroughly investigated. However, I would like to remind those who question the rationale behind spending large sums on art when the budget is ailing and the economic prognoses weak of something. Culture is not a whim or a luxurious accessory: nice to have but ultimately not particularly useful. On the contrary – culture is the highest value and a great manifestation of our growth – assesses Malinowski.
The President of Employers of Poland also recalls an anecdote linked with Winston Churchill. When the government looked for money to develop the army, one of the ministers proposed slashing the spending on culture. “Gentlemen, what are we fighting for, then?” – Churchill is reported to have replied. This is the crux of the matter.
– Where to look for money for different cultural project? I know the answer. I know where you can find both good will and the necessary assets: ask Polish entrepreneurs. I would like to warn politicians that I do not mean new taxes. Just listening to entrepreneurs will suffice. Read interviews with those who are successful and made big money. After reaching a certain level of wealth almost all of them start to think of spending money on non-business matters, including culture. The money itself no longer attracts them. What does is that which they can achieve with the help of their funds – Malinowski stresses.
– Only one condition has to be met – let them work in peace, use their skills. I guarantee that entrepreneurs will not let us down. They know very well what patriotism is, not only economic. They are connected to places where they come from. They care and will continue to care for their communities. They have to be supported in their efforts. Maybe today one of them is putting money into something that will in time become a part of the national heritage. Let that be one of my wishes for the new year – he concludes.
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