further to part 3
The key characteristics of culture in a mediocracy are grimness, boredom and dishonesty. Mediocracy’s high culture is depressing, vacuous and pretentious. Its popular culture is ugly, aggressive and degraded.
If cultural deterioration is acknowledged in a mediocracy, it is blamed on marketisation. The implication is that cultural products are somehow traded more than they used to be, which is specious. Culture has always been bought and sold, and would not get produced at all without someone to pay for it.
What is different about a mediocratic market for culture is that purchasing power is in the hands of the mass consumer and the state, rather than those of a small elite. The characteristics of the prevailing culture will therefore reflect the tastes of the mass, and the ideological preferences of the political class, rather than the tastes of the bourgeoisie. This point — that it is empowerment of the mass and of the collective which drives cultural change in a mediocracy — is ideologically unpalatable and therefore suppressed. It is more convenient to blame the market, especially as this can be used to justify intervention.
One way to think about culture in a mediocracy is to consider the mediocratic demand that everything should be determined collectively. It is clear that much of the cultural landscape society inherited was not the result of collective deliberations, but of individual decisions facilitated by unequal distributions of resources. In other words, from the collective’s point of view, our cultural progress was accidental and unintentional.
Once we move to a more egalitarian model, the question arises, what is it that the collective wants? One could postulate that it simply wants more of the cultural products it now takes for granted, and only needs to make up its mind how to get them. (Do we need to have markets? Must we allow inequality? How much inequality?) But mediocracy may be easier to understand if we adopt the hypothesis that the collective does not care particularly about culture, and is prepared to sacrifice it for the sake of the 'ethical' goal of re-subordinating the individual to society.