A very nice thought — and not just fantasy.
It is the creatives who have brought the substantial gains we’ve seen in the economy over the last 100 years — less so perhaps in the last 20.
By creatives I would include such people as Bell, the Wright bros., Edison, the academics who invented the internet, etc. And of course I mean the artists, writers, and musicians.
The real virtue of creatives is that they are incredible problem solvers — for obvious reasons. The current capital distribution model depletes the possibilty of creatives by compelling normaly creative people to onerously support themselves by very uncreative labor.
The once great university system of the US has been depleted by pro-business economics — and I can say the same for high schools as well.
Public wealth is used for more destructive ends than education — and much of it is essentially earmarked for capitalized interests (ie, special interest contractors).
In the American university (public) budgets are typically 20% instruction and research and 80% facilities/management — that means an endless supply of new washing machines in dorms, more managerial positions, infrastructure and more inrastructure — a highly distorted practice of planned obsolescence — because most university boards are run by private sector capitalists who feel that tax money needs to return to the businesses.
So, back to the coal miners and creativity. Currently we have coal miners not by choice but by default. Underinvestment in rural poor areas — espeicially in education — means the sons of miners will become miners. W/out other possibilities, that industry has a ready supply of cheap labor — cheap because the miners have few other ready options.
Give people the freedom and the tools to think and they will come up with new ideas, new art forms, new inventions.