The Flight of the Creative Class

From http://www.salon.com/books/int/2005/04/21/florida/index.html
[Salon.com, of course, requires a subscription and/or sitting through a multi-media equivalent of a commercial, in order for you to read the full article… but it’s worth doing. The review contains an in depth interview with Richard Florida where he discusses the collateral damage inflicted on our ability to attract the world’s best and brightest by the culture war and the war on terrorism. Relevant to readers of this blog, he also discusses the failure of the left to effectively articulate a vision for how those left out of the “creative” economy can be integrated into it and their fears addressed. Florida goes into great depth about how BushCo/etc. is taking advantage of this to manipulate the electorate. Really good stuff. -Thomas]

“The gay/hipster index”

Richard Florida argues that unless America turns its cities into
gay-friendly, hip creativity hubs like San Francisco, the best and
brightest will opt for foreign climes.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

By Christopher Dreher

April 21, 2005 | “The United States of America is on the verge of
losing its competitive advantage,” economist Richard Florida wrote last
fall in a Harvard Business Review article based on his new book, “The
Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent.”
“It is facing perhaps its greatest economic challenge since the dawn of
the industrial revolution.” Even more provocatively, he later declared
that “Terrorism is less a threat to the U.S. than the possibility that
creative and talented people will stop wanting to live within its
borders.”


A couple of excerpts:

[Florida:] The failure is on the left because they’re the people who are supposed
to be making a case for a proactively inclusive future. And why can’t
our left today — instead of saying we’re going to appeal to blue-collar
voters by saying, “Well, what we’re going to do is scale back women’s
rights and we don’t even want to talk about gay rights” — why can’t the
left do what you’re supposed to do? Which is what Franklin Roosevelt
did.

[Salon:] The idea of promoting “socially inclusive innovation” might fly in
Australia and Scandinavia, but I can’t think of any politician out there
who could weather the fury of rote partisan criticism supporting that
sort of change would bring out.

[Florida:] Yes, what scares me is that that force is absent from present-day
America. Instead of bemoaning low-wage service jobs and then just
talking about restoring manufacturing and dealing with outsourcing,
someone somewhere has to say that the real key to the future is to make
these service jobs good jobs. I mean that’s the real policy point — the
service economy, which represents 40 to 45 percent of the lowest paying
jobs in our economy with the least protection, has to become part of the
creative economy. We have to change those jobs in the way industrial
jobs were once changed from being terrible jobs to being good jobs.
We’re in deep trouble if we can’t focus on and address the externalities
of the creative age — income inequality, the class divide, housing
unaffordability, traffic congestion, and the one also talked about in
the book, the incredible amount of mental stress, which is the
occupational health and safety issue of the 21st century.

2 thoughts on “The Flight of the Creative Class

  1. I remember reading the original HBR article, back in the fall. I believe it was right before the elections but it may have after. Either way, it prompted me to write and that prompted me to start reading more blogs.
    21rst Century Grass Roots brother! LOL! It’s true though. Thanks for the post and the reminder that a nation’s cities must be in the van guard of culture if they wish to thrive and survive.

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