Contemporary critics often attribute this downward spiral to the rise of exploitative tech platforms: Musicians can release an album on Bandcamp, but they’re still broke; documentarians can distribute their film online, but people can easily watch for free; journalists can blog until their fingers fall off, and never see a cent. Other critics fault the creative people themselves for embracing an “Andy Warhol cynicism” that emptied art of meaning. The proposed solutions, it follows, lie narrowly in tweaking the way we buy and sell art: Maybe copyright reform would restore a bit of the revenue from royalties, or maybe artists should act more like entrepreneurs, hustling until they find their way into a profitable niche. Some of these measures might help individual writers or performers. Less clear is how they would reinvigorate the larger ecosystem that encompasses the editors and staff writers at newspapers and magazines, the scenic painters on television sets, the assistants in an artist’s studio.