Because “art is a public good” is an oft-used trope for justifying public funding for the arts, every so often I like to review Samuelson’s seminal work on the topic, “A Theory of Public Expenditure.” (It seems, lately, that reading mid-twentieth century economic theory has become something of a pastime, or, depending on the author and topic, a class prep necessity — but I digress.) In his seminal 1954 paper, Samuelson does not refer to public goods as “public,” instead defining “collective consumption goods” as those goods “which all enjoy in common in the sense that each individual’s consumption of such a good leads to no subtraction from any other individual’s consumption of that good” (p. 581 more words