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April 24, 2005

The Flight of the Creative Class

-- by Thomas Leavitt

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.

Posted by Thomas Leavitt at April 24, 2005 11:25 PM

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Seems that even conservatives are worried about the impact of our VISA policies and shortchanging of basic research funding in the federal budget... when someone from AEI claims that the private sector can't handle a job like this, that's significant.

Bad Policy Choices Are Worrisome for U.S. Economy's Future

By Norman J. Ornstein (American Enterprise Institute)
Posted: Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Posted by: Thomas Leavitt at April 24, 2005 11:47 PM

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.

Posted by: MBains at April 25, 2005 11:32 AM

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