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It can hardly be a surprise that the past century has been a showcase in the devolution of taste, for it is clear that the cultural demand of the largest economic bloc will dictate supply. When aristocracy controlled the bulk of resources, and the nascent bourgeoise was still feelings its prudent way toward preeminence, it was the taste of aristocracy that everywhere prevailed. When the bourgeoisie finally supplanted their former betters in total buying power then it itself became the good-Victorian arbiter of taste, so full of homily and Alma-Tadema. With the great democratization of the purse, the rise of, in turn, Hollywood, rock and hip-hop could become very understandable. To project the taste that is likely to be coming next we ought to look to the arising main consumers waiting in the wings. Perhaps we had better brush up on our Beijing opera.

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