Join 3,520 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


the future redefined
November 4, 2012 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Richard Florida (previously, 2) speaks to leaders [flash 11mins] of the APEC nations, November, 2011.

More recently Richard Florida addressed the RSA:
Why Creativity is the New Economy. [YT 29mins]
posted by de (21 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Fall of the Creative Class
posted by Bwithh at 10:18 AM on November 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Thank you. Florida responded: What Critics Get Wrong About the Creative Class and Economic Development. (I'll take a read.)
posted by de at 10:31 AM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man lecturing is such an amazing racket.
posted by The Whelk at 10:36 AM on November 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Um, Madison's great. That Economist author sounds like a twit.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:43 AM on November 4, 2012


This is one of the most dangerous ideas that ever caught on, at least in terms of all the attempts to force the creation of the creative city/class concept in order to reap similar outcomes and benefits that one can see from Singapore and Shanghai all the way through to Helsinki and the myriads of Silicon ____________

I will, however, grant him this:

When Dutch economists Gerard Marlet and Clemens van Woerkens compared the human capital and creative class approaches and published their results in the journal Urban Studies, they concluded that my creative class measure “sets a new standard” for measuring skill and talent. "With our Dutch data set," they wrote, "we do find evidence that Florida’s Creative Class is a better predictor of city growth than traditional education standards. Therefore we conclude that Florida’s major contribution is his successful attempt to create a population category that is a better indicator for levels of human capital than average education levels or amounts of highly educated people.”


The lure of the Knowledge Economy and all the post industrial innovation stuff is attractive, very. I've fallen for that myself, writing about the changes in the global design industry about 8 years ago - "worry not, young designers, as China eats the mfg pie, you can do strategy and design thinking" . What happens to the other 90%?
posted by infini at 10:50 AM on November 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Frank Bures responded to Florida's response, for completeness (although I agree there's much twitness in using a popcult book to decide where to live, for sure).

There was actually a spate of anti-Richard Florida activity this past summer, summarized in this Salon article: "Hipsters won’t save us," which links the last three links along with Thomas Frank's scathing-but-smart dissection of what he sees as the frivolousness of so-called "vibrancy" measures, "Dead End on Shakin' Street," noting among other things one major "obvious contradiction" in the theory:

On the one hand, vibrancy theory treats the artist as a sort of glorified social worker, whose role is to please children and stimulate businessmen and somehow support the community. But the means by which the community is to be supported is always some species of vanguardism or conspicuous creativity. The whole point of the vibrant is to build prosperous communities; and yet prosperous communities, with their Babbitt-like complacency and their straight lines and their conventional building materials, are precisely what we expect artists to flout and defy.

Worth reading as an accompaniment here.

Anyway, I'm sure lots of folks will chime in on Richard Florida's continued success as a consultant for cities. I've never trusted him ever since he was going around the country trumpeting Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill as a creative class urban hotspot back when none of those towns had anything close to a vibrant downtown at the time (and frankly still don't, with the arguable exception of Raleigh), and so am not currently much inclined to spend time on his extended videos. If there's a chance, de, that you could summarize a bit what you thought was interesting about these talks, that might be useful to those of us who've written him off as something of a huckster based on long past experience.
posted by mediareport at 10:53 AM on November 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I saw Florida speak in Cowtown sometime before the 2008/2009 economic downturn. Some of his ideas were good, such as ways art can be made more accessible to the public or that cities thrive when people can be themselves. But it was overly optimistic even for my super optimistic nature. It would be hard to apply a model to a city whose economy is often bases on a boom and bust cycle. When it's booming, art does well. When it's bust, everyone starts questioning the public art budget.
posted by Calzephyr at 11:04 AM on November 4, 2012


The Creative Class prospers only insomuch as the Ruling Class can profit from its labor.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:07 AM on November 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Florida’s response was interesting. I hadn’t realized that his measure is based on BLS numbers; I thought it was a lot fuzzier than that. The BLS numbers are helpful in two ways: they show what people actually do (Florida’s point) and they show what there’s a market for. This does help distinguish the “creative class” from mere hipsters, I imagine.
posted by migurski at 12:08 PM on November 4, 2012


> What happens to the other 90%?

I'm trying to identify these jobs of the future (for developed countries - I suspect). According to Florida Australia's work force is 45% creative class, and Singapore's comes in at 48%. The creative class is seemingly people working with marketable ideas: researchers, engineers, designers, medicos ... anything not agricultural or industrial; yet even agriculture and manufacturing are open to innovation and creativity.

> If there's a chance, de, that you could summarize a bit what you thought was interesting about these talks

I was surprised to find Florida addressing APEC leaders and easily aligned some of what he's saying with current political rhetoric from the Gillard govenment and to a lesser degree Obama's jobs rhetoric. Both speak of jobs for the future in terms of innovation and creativity.

There are strong similarities between my perception of Gillard's vision for a prosperous Australia and Obama's vision for a prosperous US. I've been looking for the influence.
posted by de at 12:15 PM on November 4, 2012


There are strong similarities between my perception of Gillard's vision for a prosperous Australia and Obama's vision for a prosperous US. I've been looking for the influence.

Its the concept of Florida all right. Dig back to the beginning of this century for the initial seeds of this. Singapore had a well crafted design policy that looked at this challenge as they were seeking to become a Creative Economy but I think they've adjusted to being merely service based due to deeper challenges of educational systems and whatnot. They have, however, encouraged innovation through immigration, recognizing that you need to mix it up a little. However, after seeing the "creative class" of an Amsterdam or even San Francisco, it becomes obvious how earnest and crafted the "creative" stuff in Singapore can often be. They're painfully self conscious about it all.
posted by infini at 12:35 PM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


> Its the concept of Florida all right.

Thank you. I thought I was onto something.

Gillard is taking it to an extreme, Australia's a little Asia-drunk ... but Obama's talking similarly (and I've assumed he doesn't want to get too ahead of the election. Wait for it).
posted by de at 12:41 PM on November 4, 2012


Australia's a little Asia-drunk

Yes, this caught my attention in today's Straits Times. Big spread on Australia's Asian Initiative and whatnot.

Might this intriguing snippet add some context to their worldview/perspective/thinking, do you suppose?

In East Asia, the world’s most dynamic and dominant region in terms of future global economic development, confrontation is escalating between the key powers – China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan – over border issues, territorial claims, prestige, and unfinished historical business. Add to this the perennial crisis on the Korean peninsula and the Taiwan conflict, which could flare up again anytime.

East Asia’s regional powers operate almost without any multilateral framework, a state of affairs comparable to that of Europe toward the end of the nineteenth century. Only the United States’s military and political presence ensures regional stability. Yet, at least in the medium term, that presence implies a significant risk of inciting a global confrontation between China and the US. Moreover, Russia – which extends to East Asia, but, owing to its economic and political weakness, has been a background player there – would certainly seek to benefit from this development.

posted by infini at 1:16 PM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yes, don't anybody touch Diaoyu Dao, an Inherent Territory of China.
If it were up to me I'd return their islands to save the peace.

Plus:
CHINA has issued an official condemnation of Australia’s decision to have 2500 troops from the US based in Darwin, branding the move as "Cold War thinking" and a threat to regional stability.

Then Gillard -- who only two years back was explaining the situation with the 'Taliband' at a doorstop interview -- has everything in hand these days: Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

*When it comes to war Gillard's a bigger worry that the Chinese. I think she fancies herself as a wartime leader come peace negotiator. I'm not sure who isn't out of their depth when it comes to war and peace.
posted by de at 2:15 PM on November 4, 2012


I might add Gillard appears quite ruthless when it comes to the EU. They got themselves into that mess, they can get themselves out. She said as much.

Putin and Gillard came to a few bilaterals: education exchange, trade.

posted by de at 2:24 PM on November 4, 2012


No cocktails huh? He wasn't her type?
posted by infini at 4:26 PM on November 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


migurski: " I hadn’t realized that his measure is based on BLS numbers; I thought it was a lot fuzzier than that. The BLS numbers are helpful in two ways: they show what people actually do (Florida’s point) and they show what there’s a market for. This does help distinguish the “creative class” from mere hipsters, I imagine."

Having read several of his papers, and waited years for his evidence, I will say that Florida says he has data more than he's ever shown of his data. This makes one major methodological problem: he's essentially come up with his theory years before he was ever able to show that his theory was true, so whatever data he now pulls to prove his own work is suspect: he's biased himself (and others) to his own bs.
posted by stratastar at 6:53 PM on November 4, 2012


Is there a new creative class? I don't think so but I am noticing that more and more work requires hustling. Most of our lives we work for those who can pay us and when only the wealthy have money, the work automatically becomes hustling; because the wealthy do not really want for much. There is no lack of work to be done but for the work of fixing and improving common things there is not much money available.

I just listened to this lecture and I have to say the ideas appear attractive but also completely empty. Let me summarize unkindly.

"Hi guys :) I noticed that we have inequality and although it is creating a few problems for the poor, my research shows it is the natural result of globalisation (I know trippy right). I also discovered something I already knew. Wealth doesn't trickle down like it used to; It ooozes out of creative people that work in health and technology and health technologies. My solution, and this is where I owe a debt of gratitude to an oozy friend of mine, is to milk the oooze of creative people more efficiently. Of course we have to find something to do with the people who are not oozing or milking ooze and we can't use a "New Deal" this time because ... yknow the oozing."

I could just as easily kindly summarize but I would only do that if I was being paid to ooze.
posted by vicx at 8:51 PM on November 4, 2012


> ... but I would only do that if I was being paid to ooze.

There'll always be someone who'll undercut you and take the bottom out of the creative market.
posted by de at 9:45 PM on November 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think Shakespeare already did that in a Dream he had one Midsummer Night.
posted by infini at 8:19 AM on November 5, 2012


They have, however, encouraged innovation through immigration, recognizing that you need to mix it up a little. However, after seeing the "creative class" of an Amsterdam or even San Francisco, it becomes obvious how earnest and crafted the "creative" stuff in Singapore can often be. They're painfully self conscious about it all.

Most creative-types I know, whether Singapore-born or 'foreign talent', are looking at moving out when they can. The ones who haven't have either started up, or joined banks/ local GLC's, or are approaching life with a cynicism that almost pathological. (ahem, me) Some interesting work at The Hub nevertheless; also, I do know of a few startups from elsewhere who like to have an address here to meet investors etc.

But otherwise yes; the local corporate culture is one where you're told what to do, not asked what we can do (just as it is in the political culture, obviously; consider the absolute hubris in building - and advertising! - a completely fake garden on reclaimed land for a billion bucks, while splitting an existing secondary forest with cultural heritage). Whether you accept Florida's thesis or not, it's becoming painfully apparent that Singapore's creative-ness (or whatever) will need to thrive despite the gahmen, not because of it.
posted by the cydonian at 8:50 PM on November 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older Oliver Burkeman on happiness through negative thin...  |  When I came to the US, I heard... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments