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Creative Class War
January 14, 2004 7:18 PM   Subscribe

Creative Class War: How the GOP's anti-elitism could ruin America's economy. This is an interesting and troubling article by Richard Florida on the possible flight of the American "Creative Class." [Via WorldChanging.]
posted by homunculus (69 comments total)

 
very very good...thanks
posted by amberglow at 8:00 PM on January 14, 2004


I'm a cynical opitimist, trying hard to hope that my daughter's world will be wonderful, but these articles are as depressing in the short run as is information about the imminent destruction of our planet's homeostasis in the (somewhat) longer run.
posted by kozad at 8:39 PM on January 14, 2004


Does anyone think that there are people in the Republican party who might care about this? I can just hear the conversation...

"The arts?! Fuck 'em. We don't need any art. And if we do, that nice Thomas Kinkade can paint a pretty picture. That's art. Creative types? Hell, that's nothing but liberal speak for a faggot, devil loving, commie with a paintbrush or one of them freakish apple computers. Bunch of goddamn hippies anyway."
posted by damnitkage at 8:42 PM on January 14, 2004


This is a very good post.
posted by troutfishing at 8:56 PM on January 14, 2004


As touched on by our own adamgreenfield after seeing Florida's keynote at last year's sxsw. Further comment by kottke.
posted by whatnot at 9:01 PM on January 14, 2004


From the first link:

Clinton's whole life is a testimony to the power of education to change class. Bush prides himself on the idea that his Yale education had no effect on how he sees things.

So succinct, and so true.
posted by interrobang at 9:27 PM on January 14, 2004


I'm glad I read that whole thing.

I'm also glad Canada seems to have a nice even distribution of progressive, thriving cities dotted around each of the provinces. So while a place like Alberta will always be about oil and cattle, Calgary and Edmonton are technology and business centres in their own right that aren't dependent on the resource economy. Similar for BC, Quebec and even here out East.

But ultimately the problem of peop[le in rural areas having more political weight than people in cities will have to be addressed, both in the US an =d Canada.

The current 'big sort' in the US is probably just what the Republicans dream about, that all those pesky other-thinking types would take their lattes and Volvos and go somewhere where their vote won't change the status quo.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:31 PM on January 14, 2004


But ultimately the problem of peop[le in rural areas having more political weight than people in cities will have to be addressed, both in the US an =d Canada.

Is this really the case? I grew up in Utah, which was pretty much always skipped when it came to presidential elections, and has a very small voice in congress. I live in California now, big big difference. I feel like the concerns of my region actually matter to the federal government.
posted by namespan at 10:00 PM on January 14, 2004


namespan: Affirmative Action for Republicans

This is the first thing that come up looking for stats on how the electoral col.college gives more weight to voters in smaller, rural states than larger, urban ones.

I know what you mean though, with where I live being dwarfed in terms of people and policy by central Canada, my vote still ultimately has more power to decide who runs the country than someone in downtown Toronto or Montreal.

Though personally I still think there's a place for special representation, the Senate is supposed to be it, but the Electoral College not so much.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:13 PM on January 14, 2004


I thought this was an interesting read from a local paper: Another Spin on Richard Florida
posted by Raichle at 10:47 PM on January 14, 2004


Raichle, Thanks for the contrary view of Richard Florida. I myself could easily do my work from home, but I choose to go into an office because it is easier to focus there, and when I need uncomplicated company, its all around me in the form of creative, intelligent and good-looking men and women. Home is home and work is work, and to confuse the two, is to join the "everything is everything else" confusion that erupts in the culture every so often, when people start thinking that life would be better without distinctions. As far as those creative classers who are running from America to overwhelmingly Caucasian countries like Australia, Canada and New Zealand, good riddance. I'd like to suggest that they're not really fleeing the Bush administration, they're fleeing racial and cultural diversity, and the humbling experience of having to live in a place where not everybody thinks or looks as you do. They're too chicken to live in a country that accepts gays, hip-hoppers, Republicans and Dennis Kucinich under it big, lively tent.
posted by Faze at 6:31 AM on January 15, 2004


I'd like to suggest that they're not really fleeing the Bush administration, they're fleeing racial and cultural diversity, and the humbling experience of having to live in a place where not everybody thinks or looks as you do.

Amen.

I don't think we should start intellectual bashing or anything here, but there is some truth to the fact that people tend to try and cordon themselves off into little "reservations" of like-minded people. A certain amount of this is normal, "birds-of-a-feather" affirmation-seeking behavior, but it can be to the detriment of the individual and society to live that way. If you are that threatened by those who think/look/act different from you then maybe you aren't that secure in your beliefs to begin with. If nothing else, bumping up against different points of view keeps you sharp, and keeps you re-evaluating, and reminds you that others may have very good reasons for disagreeing with you.

In fact, it's one of the reasons I (and I'm willing to bet this goes for a lot of my fellow contrarian MeFites as well) keep coming back to MeFi is to come in contact with different points of view and ideas. To remind my self that not everyone's like me.
posted by jonmc at 7:11 AM on January 15, 2004


I'd like to suggest that they're not really fleeing the Bush administration, they're fleeing racial and cultural diversity, and the humbling experience of having to live in a place where not everybody thinks or looks as you do.

Faze, I think that's one of the most insulting and presumptuous things I've ever read here, and I'm frankly surprised.

Anecdotal, sure, but the people I know who have contemplated or actually executed such withdrawals are precisely the type of people who are engaged in their communities - passionate urbanites with a deep and visceral need for diversity, and not just in the form of good Thai restuarants.

Again, of the people I know who have actually done this, upon setting up shop somewhere else, their most frequent (if somewhat ingrateful) lament to me is the relative homogeneity of where they settled.

Florida may certainly be fatuous, but this quote from his piece resonates deeply with me: "From bloggers and programmers to members of the National Academy I have spoken with, all find the Zeitgeist alien and even threatening. My friend says it is like trying to research and do business in the 21st century in a culture that wants to live in the 19th, empires, bibles and all."

There are other places about which this could not be said. Why complicate things with ugly aspersions when the motives are self-evident?
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:30 AM on January 15, 2004


The "bobo" — bourgeois bohemian" Creative Class, as Florida describes them — are Republicans, or at least potential Republicans. See this review of Florida's book.
posted by hairyeyeball at 7:37 AM on January 15, 2004


Anecdotal, sure, but the people I know who have contemplated or actually executed such withdrawals are precisely the type of people who are engaged in their communities - passionate urbanites with a deep and visceral need for diversity, and not just in the form of good Thai restuarants.

Yes, but generally speaking, those communities have a "visceral need for diversity" of everything but opinion.
posted by jonmc at 7:57 AM on January 15, 2004


adamgreenfield, Anyone who mistakes the USA for "a culture that wants to live in the 19th [century], empires, bibles and all," must be wearing blinders the size of the Australian outback. The USA remains the most progressive and inclusive culture in the world, despite whomever may be temporarily occupying the White House. As far as their "lament" about the homogeneity of Australia, Canada or New Zealand, I hear that same BS from liberals who move to all-white suburbs --"boo-hoo-hoo there's no diversity here, but what are you going to do?" Answer: There's plenty you can do, if you are really "passionate urbanites with a deep and visceral need for diversity" that goes deeper than listening to NPR on your long commute into the city. (By the way, Australia and New Zealand are among the most retrograde, sexist conservative cultures in the Anglo-Saxon universe, outdoing the crudest, Bible-thumping caricatures of U.S. redneckers by a mile. Why don't people admit that the main appeal of these places to white U.S. emigres is the nearly complete absence of persons of African descent, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans and all that that implies?) By moving to Canada, New Zealand or Australia, these little whiners can have their cake and eat it too. They get to be big liberal heroes, and get to live in an all-white, non-diverse society such as the Republican party would never dream of advocating. And make tons of money. Gosh, we're gonna miss 'em.
posted by Faze at 7:57 AM on January 15, 2004


adamgreenfield:

> the people I know who have contemplated or actually executed such
> withdrawals are precisely the type of people who are engaged in their
> communities....

They were so engaged that they up and disengaged? It follows, somehow, I guess.


> this quote from his piece resonates deeply with me: "From bloggers and
> programmers to members of the National Academy I have spoken with, all
> find the Zeitgeist alien and even threatening.

Heh. So our need for diversity doesn't extend to alien and threatening diversity? Only warm and fuzzy diversity need apply? What a bunch of bunnies.


damnitkage:

> Does anyone think that there are people in the Republican party who might
> care about this? I can just hear the conversation...
>
> "The arts?! Fuck 'em. We don't need any art. And if we do, that nice Thomas
> Kinkade can paint a pretty picture. That's art. Creative types? Hell, that's
> nothing but liberal speak for a faggot, devil loving, commie with a paintbrush
> or one of them freakish apple computers. Bunch of goddamn hippies anyway."

damnitkage, your perfervid affection for imaginary enemies is so impressive I doubt us real oppressors need waste so much as an ice cube from our mint juleps to have a chilling effect on you. Pink elephants! Pink elephants! Shiver shiver cringe!
posted by jfuller at 8:01 AM on January 15, 2004


I have to admit I'm a bit dubious about some of the claims being made here. florida talks about the loss of the American creative class but then his examples:

The most advanced cell phones are being made in Salo, Finland, not Chicago. The world's leading airplanes are being designed and built in Toulouse and Hamburg, not Seattle.

aren't largely about the creative industry, they concern the technical/manufacturing industries, where its hardly news that the US has had competition or been inferior in many areas.

Drops in immigration for science and technical positions can be traced (at least in part) to reduced opportunities in the IT sector - indeed the US is significantly reducing the number of people it will let in on H1b visas for this kind of work, as non-domestic workers are no longer needed in the numbers they were.

While I'm loathe to use Time magazine as a reference, this week's European issue is running an article on how Europe needs to stop the Brain Drain to the US, which provides a counterpoint to the Florida article.
posted by biffa at 8:01 AM on January 15, 2004


What jonmc said. Florida's work may have some merits, but it's hard for me to get past the oozing condescension which permeates it. A hairdresser is more "creative" than a skilled machinist? Huh? There is no objective criteria behind that distinction; it's pretty obvious that it is born entirely of Florida and his cohort's reflexive aversion to anything blue-collar ... all that grease, you know.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 8:04 AM on January 15, 2004


it's pretty obvious that it is born entirely of Florida and his cohort's reflexive aversion to anything blue-collar ... all that grease, you know.

It's beyond even that. The reflexive aversion could be extended to pretty much anything unlike himself from what I can see. For all his praising of the "creative class," you'd think they were doing the universe a favor by existing along side us underdeveloped types. But the truth is a far different story. Ask the Polish and Hassidic residents of Greenpoint/Williamsburg, or the Hispanic residents of the Mission District what they think of the "creative class" and their gifts of high rents, gentrification, sprawl, etc...
posted by jonmc at 8:22 AM on January 15, 2004


WTF? Faze, jonmc, I cannot believe the resentment, the ignorance and anger pouring off your words.

I won't comment further on your dismissive presumptuousness. I think I'm done here.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:26 AM on January 15, 2004


WTF? Faze, jonmc, I cannot believe the resentment, the ignorance and anger pouring off your words.

I won't comment further on your dismissive presumptuousness. I think I'm done here.


I think he just proved our point for us, huh?
posted by jonmc at 8:29 AM on January 15, 2004


They get to be big liberal heroes, and get to live in an all-white, non-diverse society
such as the Republican party would never dream of advocating.


You are so right, the catering at the last cross-burning that I went to was just terrible.
I can't wait until I can get somewhere where the locals really know how to do this stuff.
I hear they made queer-bashing the national sport in Finland, and it sure would be great to
move to an all-white country like New Zealand

on preview:
Ask the Polish and Hassidic residents of Greenpoint/Williamsburg

Oh, and jonmc, is Astoria somehow above this?
Hmm, I wonder if google could cure your ignorance.
posted by milovoo at 8:33 AM on January 15, 2004


I find Florida to be a little too peppy or something. But in response to the highly critical article from the Baffler, one linked above, he takes issue with the anti-blue collar charge and seems to defend himself pretty well.
posted by raysmj at 8:38 AM on January 15, 2004


Astoria's a long way from the youth state thats's happened in Williamsburg. I don't see the Greek community vanishing anytime soon, and Ditmars Blvd. has yet to be clogged with Urban Outfitters and avant-garde art spaces. I live here because it's (by NYC standards) affordable, safe, and conveinient to Manhattan, not to go hang out and pose like the Billyburg kids. This is mainly because most of the "creative class" in NYC, would rather die than set foot in the gauche borough of Queens.

NTM, just how diverse can you be, really, if you're ready to flee when world dosen't share your view of the world? There's the spirit: "I'll just keep moving from place to place until I find people who will appreciate me for the genius I am."
posted by jonmc at 8:43 AM on January 15, 2004


I hear that same BS from liberals who move to all-white suburbs --"boo-hoo-hoo there's no diversity here, but what are you going to do?"

Ask the Polish and Hassidic residents of Greenpoint/Williamsburg, or the Hispanic residents of the Mission District what they think of the "creative class" and their gifts of high rents, gentrification, sprawl, etc...

Damned if we do, damned if we don't, eh?
posted by Ptrin at 8:52 AM on January 15, 2004


A the first link from a vast list of google hits -
focused its work in the large South Asian neighborhoods of Jackson Heights and Astoria.
In Astoria, says Agnani, gentrification has become a serious problem,

but, so as long as nothing happens to the Greeks, it's not gentrification?

not to go hang out and pose like the Billyburg kids.

So it's pretty clear you have never actually been to Williamsburg.
you should visit sometime, it's just a couple of trains away.
I think you will be surprised.

This is mainly because most of the "creative class" in NYC, would rather die than set foot in the gauche borough of Queens.

That is ridiculous and you most likely know it. I would say about half of the Art Directors,
Photographers, and various other "creative types" that I know live in Queens.
posted by milovoo at 9:02 AM on January 15, 2004


So far this has been chalked this up to like-mindedness, fear of diversity and elitism. All I think Florida's saying is that many in the so called "creative class" are alienated by the current political climate. And when the rest of the country seems to be going along with said policies, dissenters begin to feel marginalized. There are fewer and fewer reasons to stay.

The USA remains the most progressive and inclusive culture in the world, despite whomever may be temporarily occupying the White House.
Faze, my optimistic side agrees with you wholeheartedly. In fact, I have wondered about the Reagan years--would I have felt just as far out of the loop then? I was a child at the time and didn't understand why people were protesting and complaining so much.

Heh. So our need for diversity doesn't extend to alien and threatening diversity? Only warm and fuzzy diversity need apply? What a bunch of bunnies.
jfuller, the quote is in reference to the political zeitgeist. Try checking the context next time.

IshmaelGraves, your comment doesn't make sense to me. Hairdressing is blue collar work. And quite messy, if done well.

For all his praising of the "creative class," you'd think they were doing the universe a favor by existing along side us underdeveloped types.
"I'll just keep moving from place to place until I find people who will appreciate me for the genius I am."
jonmc, just how big is that chip on your shoulder? yeesh. Try this: "maybe I should move to a place that won't throw me in jail for my ideas? Someplace that doesn't hassle my friends for having brown skin?"
posted by whatnot at 9:07 AM on January 15, 2004


Ptrin, live where you want, but don't try to remake the place in you're own image is what probably irks the residents of those neighborhoods. My co-worker, who grew up in Greenpoint, recently went back for a visit and in her words was "disgusted" at how her "quiet working-class neighborhood turned into fuckin' Soho."

If you're entering a community, respect those already there and their culture. It's a two way street.

On preview, I've been to Billyburg, plenty of times. I lived there in 1991. And if those art directors live around here, they haven't made their presence known to me. My neighborhood still seems to be mostly contractors and office workers, and even the art directors are still merely employees of a business, not the layabout posers I encounter in some quarters.
posted by jonmc at 9:10 AM on January 15, 2004


As far as those creative classers who are running from America to overwhelmingly Caucasian countries like . . . Canada

By moving to Canada . . . these little whiners can have their cake and eat it too. They get to be big liberal heroes, and get to live in an all-white, non-diverse society


Haven't been to Canada lately (ever?), have you, Faze?

Lest anyone take Faze's frothing for fact, let me just quickly point out that Canada takes in more immigrants per capita each year than the US does by a long shot, and has for a couple of decades. What's more, unlike the melting-pot US, Canada has officially enshrined multiculturalism as a pillar of public policy.

Toronto and Vancouver are two of the most multicultural cities on the planet. (There are, for example, considerably more foreign-born residents of Toronto than there are foreign-born residents of New York.) Every other urban centre in Canada is an increasingly diverse patchwork of ethnicities. Brooks, Alberta - until very recently the very epitome of smalltown redneck prairie life - now plays host to a huge and growing Sudanese community. The Governor General's Chinese, Calgary's got a Sikh member of parliament, and the heir apparent for anchor of the CBC News is Indian by way of Trinidad.

I can't speak for Australia and NZ, but any creative classers fleeing for Canada aren't coming to disappear into a sea of Caucasians. Might in fact be that they simply find Canada a more liberal and tolerant society to live and work in.
posted by gompa at 9:20 AM on January 15, 2004


jonmc, just how big is that chip on your shoulder? yeesh. Try this: "maybe I should move to a place that won't throw me in jail for my ideas? Someplace that doesn't hassle my friends for having brown skin?"

Nobody's getting thrown in jail for their ideas in New York, at least not by me. Plus I live in the most ethnically diverse county in the United States, so that's a bit of a canard too.
posted by jonmc at 9:26 AM on January 15, 2004


> Damned if we do, damned if we don't, eh?

Only if you bring your money with you. The not-morally-bankrupt alternative is obviously to get a minimum wage job and show your solidarity with the unmonied class by joining it. Won't be doing any gentrification if you're not gentry.

Why do I always have to point out the brontosaurus in the room?
posted by jfuller at 9:30 AM on January 15, 2004


I would gladly swap a few hundred thousand "creative" types who seek ideological monocultural for a few hundred thousand Chinese and Indians who want to get rich and send their kids to Harvard. Nice for us that in the event the "creatives" do decide to take their show on the road, there are tens of millions of those Chinese and Indians patiently waiting to take their place in the good old USA.
posted by MattD at 9:31 AM on January 15, 2004


oh, that's right, jonmc, because if it hasn't happened to anyone you know, it hasn't happened at all.
posted by whatnot at 9:32 AM on January 15, 2004


If you're entering a community, respect those already there and their culture. It's a two way street.

Yes, you must respect the abandoned warehouse and give thanks to all the factories that came before you.
I can't believe that you would even try to lecture someone on gentrification, seriously.

My neighborhood still seems to be mostly contractors and office workers, and even the art directors
are still merely employees of a business, not the layabout posers I encounter in some quarters.


You know what would help you differentiate these "Creative types" - they should be forced to wear badges
at all times, maybe a big felt starbuck symbol or a croissant?

Or maybe your problem is not with these creative types after all,
it's those "layabout posers" and "Billyburg kids", and yet, you
want to preach tolerance to everyone else, whatever.

You really just need to get out more, you are starting to sound
like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons (and not in a humorous way)
posted by milovoo at 9:37 AM on January 15, 2004


I can't believe that you would even try to lecture someone on gentrification, seriously.

Why? What am I part of the rampaging yuppie hordes now? I do data entry and my girlfreind teaches high school in the Bronx. We're real carpetbaggers, huh?

Or maybe your problem is not with these creative types after all,
it's those "layabout posers" and "Billyburg kids", and yet, you
want to preach tolerance to everyone else, whatever.


I have no problem with people persuing creative endeavors, but like all people when they are in large groups they tend to become intolerant of those different from them. Plus I don't like the baggage the bring with them: loud nightclubs, health food stores fulla lousy high priced food, snobby attitudes, the works.

You really just need to get out more, you are starting to sound
like Mr. Burns from the Simpsons (and not in a humorous way)


Why, so I can hang out with the cool kids?

I've gotten out plenty inmy time. That's where I discovered all the inanities I described above. I'm quite happy with my uneventful life and surroundings, thanks.
posted by jonmc at 9:48 AM on January 15, 2004


MattD, if you were to, you know, _read_ the article, you'd have learned that what Florida sees as just as big a part of the problem facing the US is that skilled immigrants are now no longer banging on the doors to get into American schools or come here to work. Instead they're going to places like Canada, Britain, Australia, etc.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:54 AM on January 15, 2004


Haven't been to Canada lately (ever?), have you, Faze?

What Faze was obviously referring to* isn't that Canada is overwhelmingly European (which it isn't, with the recent influx of Chinese) but that it's overwhelmingly not dark-skinned. Which seems true to me; even Toronto is less than 10% Black and seems to have only a vanishingly small number of Latinos. It's diverse, but along a dramatically different axis from the diversity of typical American cities.

any creative classers fleeing for Canada aren't coming to disappear into a sea of Caucasians

True enough, but if you're looking to avoid scary brown people, Canada is a good place to go.

*He's not imputing a desire to go be with other whites but a desire to avoid blacks, Puerto Ricans, and Mexicans.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:02 AM on January 15, 2004


Canada, Britain, Australia can have their share too -- there are more than enough ambitious Chinese and Indians who want nothing more than a McMansion and a matched pair of SUVs to go around...
posted by MattD at 10:08 AM on January 15, 2004


I have no problem with people persuing creative endeavors, but like all people when
they are in large groups they tend to become intolerant of those different from them.


Ah, I see, you have confused intolerance with personal preferences, but I'm sure glad to hear that
you don't have a problem with other people's choices in life.

We're real carpetbaggers, huh?

Things change, neighborhoods change, maybe there are some dutch farmers who are really pissed about your lack of goats and orchards.
Everyone who comes to a neighborhood changes it in some way, maybe you think you are such a great person that you obviously increase property values by your mere presence but I'll bet not everyone would agree with you.

I'm quite happy with my uneventful life and surroundings, thanks.

And quite critical of anything that isn't.
posted by milovoo at 10:12 AM on January 15, 2004


Or maybe your problem is not with these creative types after all, it's those "layabout posers" and "Billyburg kids", and yet, you want to preach tolerance to everyone else, whatever.

The thing is, as Florida would have it, the posers and bobos and intellectuals and scientists are all part of this "creative class," and this lumping together is driving a lot of the resentment in this thread. It's confusing, and it seems to have thrown Florida himself for a loop, but I don't think it's necessarily wrong, if you consider that creative people often depend on the posers for sustenance.

I don't know, Florida has a few good points, even if he's wound up becoming a garden-variety elitist, which looks like what's happened.
posted by furiousthought at 10:18 AM on January 15, 2004


Encouraging industries to let people on the factory floor be creative is nothing new - it's been a big part of the management literature for a couple of decades now. Florida, in the response I lined above, makes the point that only places and fields where creativity has been encouraged have been responsible for growth in the U.S. over the past decade or so. Or have been responsible for most it, rather.

The idea that only people in the arts and whatnot are "creative" types is remarkably shallow and I really don't think Florida agrees with that, however bothersome I might find his hype-heavy style. (And what's he's saying about unions in that article - that they haven't encouraged creativity, as they now stand - is not different than anything Jane Jacobs ever said about unions, and she's hardly seen as anti-working class.)

I also think it's clear that Florida thinks that the divide between the red and the blue is a big part of the problem. I don't think he dwells on that long enough, nor does he stress the problem of elitism enough. Jonmc is absolutely right about the sneering part. But the ideal is not to choose one side or the other, but to encourage creativity in society as a whole, to try to bridge the gap somehow. And the GOP, Florida believes, is only dividing people here, while Democratic attempts (or, rather, Howard Dean's latest attempt, with the Confederate flags on trucks bit) to bridge it haven't worked or have been half-hearted. He's right.
posted by raysmj at 10:23 AM on January 15, 2004


Look, there is a serious problem with Florida's thesis -- "creative" (a term that is never properly defined or used consistently), open cultures generate economic, or at least, job growth. Florida has said Seattle and Vancouver are creative centers. It should follow that Seattle and Vancouver have wicked job or business growth. They do not. At least Seattle should outpace the rest of the country. It does not. In fact, the Northwest is not a good place to go looking for work, despite how creative the environs.

Closed, intolerant societies, societies with cultural upheaval and say, caste systems, should not have fast job growth or good economies. You'll see that China and India have 2 of the largest 4 GDPs on the planet. China's and India's are also faster growing than the US'. (Economic growth under totalitarian dictatorships is often astounding -- I'll let the reader make the obvious connection.)

This seems incredibly obvious to me, but Florida has a political purpose to his creative theory. One that I'm not entirely unsympathetic toward, but I think there's a better way to talk politics than making up byzantine prescriptions for economic growth. Here's the facts: jobs tend to spring up where it is cheapest for a business to operate. If the business happens to be headquartered is some remote locale it will have to spend a lot on recruitment. Peter Jackson is pretty smart to open a studio in New Zealand. He can mint his own cash and the operating costs in New Zealand are probably a hell of a lot less than in LA.

All the talk about people leaving jobs or areas due to race or class issues seems incredibly superficial, definitly more so than Florida. People try to go where the work is, just as much as businesses try to find cheap labor. Race certainly has little if nothing to do with a company looking for cheap labor or an individual looking for work.
posted by raaka at 10:37 AM on January 15, 2004


And quite critical of anything that isn't.

That's why my girlfriend is a published poet with an MFA in creative writing, and I count many artists, musicians, and writers (including some williamsburg residents, most of whom are equally dismayed by the invasion of trendoids) among my close freinds. Hell, I run a blog, surely that's a creative endeavor.

However, I also number among my freinds cops, booksellers, token booth clerks, and building superintendents. In an ideal situation, these people can mingle and learn from eachother. But in Florida's world of strict delineation between "creative" and not, that would seem difficult.

I like having creative people around,but when they band together they often act just ike other groups of like minded people. They form "scenes" which leads to cliquishness, exclusivity and conformity. Eventually people are ostracized for wearing the wrong color pants. This benefits no one.
posted by jonmc at 10:49 AM on January 15, 2004


Still haven't gotten over those atomic wedgies, huh, jonmc?
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:53 AM on January 15, 2004


sounds more like Florida hasn't, adam, seeing as he's so desperate to avoid the "non-creatives."
posted by jonmc at 11:01 AM on January 15, 2004


> Ah, I see, you have confused intolerance with personal preferences

Thanks very much, milavoo, and from now on whenever anyone accuses jon or me or any of us of intolerance we'll just refer them to you to understand the distinction to them (I have personal preferences; you are intolerant; he is a raving bigot.)
posted by jfuller at 11:07 AM on January 15, 2004


jonmc: What are you talking about? I read the article linked in the FPP, and didn't get that impression. He thinks there should be more creativity in society. I think there are some people who can't be or don't want to be creative, in anything, but Florida doesn't come off in the article as if he's desperately trying to avoid anyone. Even if you think that's true of some creative types or people here, why are you projecting that onto the author or the article in question?
posted by raysmj at 11:08 AM on January 15, 2004


And creativity has been encouraged among cops, jonmc. You ever heard of community policing? I've met officers - mid-level, mostly, with master's degrees and higher, although this isn't true of all I'm talking about - who get off more on talking theory, or talking about where theory meets the street.
posted by raysmj at 11:11 AM on January 15, 2004


That was mainly meant as a riposte to adam's little snark, ray.
posted by jonmc at 11:18 AM on January 15, 2004


Independant of personal preference, areas that support creative types, whatever that means, flourish well beyond places that don't. NYC and LA are the #1 examples.
posted by destro at 11:37 AM on January 15, 2004


raaka's pretty much settled this for me. All the politically driven brain drain talk from Florida is agenda-driven "booga booga". Thanks for the good sense, raaka.
posted by Faze at 11:52 AM on January 15, 2004


Here's Wired's interview with stem cell researcher Roger Pederson, which is mentioned in the article.
posted by homunculus at 12:24 PM on January 15, 2004


Look, there is a serious problem with Florida's thesis -- "creative" (a term that is never properly defined or used consistently), open cultures generate economic, or at least, job growth. Florida has said Seattle and Vancouver are creative centers. It should follow that Seattle and Vancouver have wicked job or business growth. They do not. At least Seattle should outpace the rest of the country. It does not. In fact, the Northwest is not a good place to go looking for work, despite how creative the environs.


This article has some data that tend to back up what you've said. According to the article:

"The professor’s creative index—a composite of his other indexes—lists San Francisco, Austin, Houston, and San Diego among the top ten. His bottom ten include New Orleans, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Oklahoma City, which he says are “stuck in paradigms of old economic development” and are losing their “economic dynamism” to his winners. So you’d expect his winners to be big job producers. Yet since 1993, cities that score the best on Florida’s analysis have actually grown no faster than the overall U.S. jobs economy, increasing their employment base by only slightly more than 17 percent. Florida’s indexes, in fact, are such poor predictors of economic performance that his top cities haven’t even outperformed his bottom ones. Led by big percentage gains in Las Vegas (the fastest-growing local economy in the nation) as well as in Oklahoma City and Memphis, Florida’s ten least creative cities turn out to be jobs powerhouses, adding more than 19 percent to their job totals since 1993—faster growth even than the national economy."
posted by gyc at 12:40 PM on January 15, 2004


I see the "we don't want them anyway" attitude is a real one. I wonder what the consequences of this will be...
posted by Space Coyote at 1:26 PM on January 15, 2004


Total jobs=creative jobs + other jobs (mcdonalds fry cook etc..)

The loss of those creative jobs (designers, inventors, etc..) plus the loss of production jobs overseas to places like China and India, means we are fucked.

Also, I think his thesis shouldn't be taken in reverse:
creative sector means there will be some jobs
....but not that the existence of jobs means there's a large creative sector

maybe he's overstating the importance of this class of work, but with the economy as it is, it should't be ignored.
posted by destro at 2:23 PM on January 15, 2004


gyc: I'm quite sure - although I've never read his entire book or examined his research carefull - that Florida has his own stats wrapped up in a nice little bow too. And I'm no more willing to totally trust him than the arch-conservative Manhattan Institute. Actually, I'd give Florida a bit of an edge here.

The truth is that he surely magnifies certain aspects of his research to sell books and win speaking engagements, etc. (although there's nothing wrong with trying to sell books, per se). I'm thinking that he leaves out quite a bit about coordination between different sectors of cities and so forth. You can't just cater to a certain sort of creative type or whatever and hope to make your city or town, or state or region, work. Your success won't be long-term either. Then how to do define economic growth? Just jobs, even crappy ones? Wealth creation, what? And maybe success shouldn't be measured in strictly economic terms anyhow? Just a thought.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand site interviews Florida.
posted by raysmj at 2:25 PM on January 15, 2004


One concern I've had with Florida's ideas (after reading his book, not just the linked article): He recognizes that for a "creative class" to be successful in a given environ, it needs a pretty robust service class. He also recognizes that the service class jobs tend to be relatively low-paying ones. And he recognizes that they tend to be dominated by minority workers without much education, while the highly-educated white workers dominate the creative class. But he never really seems to tackle that, or see the whole thing as a problem worth considering.
posted by nickmark at 3:08 PM on January 15, 2004


Why don't people admit that the main appeal of these places to white U.S. emigres is the nearly complete absence of persons of African descent, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans and all that that implies?)

Because it's not true?

I mean, seriously, that's a hell of an accusation you are making with no grounds whatsoever. It's true that there are fewer people of those ethnicities in Canada, NZ, etc., but correlation does not equal causation, etc.

Could just be that most people find those countries to be nice places to live where they already speak English? (And of course, Canada is close to the US, making it easier for emigrants to visit US friends and family.) You don't see as many people wanting to go to Mexico, for example, because it's a less-developed country where one would ideally need to learn another language. Way more upheaval. Maybe some folks are afraid of the "brown people" but there are plenty of less offensive reasons to choose Canada over Mexico.

Honestly, this accusation says more about you than it does about the folks seeking to emigrate.
posted by litlnemo at 3:46 PM on January 15, 2004


Faze: ...and New Zealand are among the most retrograde, sexist conservative cultures in the Anglo-Saxon universe

Ha
posted by Tuatara at 4:59 PM on January 15, 2004


litlnemo, you beat me to it...

jonmc, in headshrink lingo that's called projection: ascribing intentions to other people that reflect your own intentions.
posted by gambuzino at 9:01 AM on January 16, 2004


gambuzino, litlnemo was quoting Faze's comments, not mine. Read carefully before diagnosis, doctor.
posted by jonmc at 9:20 AM on January 16, 2004


Immigration controls introduced under the 'war on terror' are restricting the flow of foreign researchers into the United States. With other countries moving in on this pool of talent, will the balance of scientific power shift?
posted by homunculus at 12:40 PM on January 17, 2004


Good find, H. This is but one aspect of a much larger phenomenon by which Americans are becoming collectively and dangerously unhinged.

Religious belief cannot shape certain fundamental realities, nor can advertising restructure the laws of physics
posted by troutfishing at 10:06 AM on January 18, 2004


My mistake, jonmc. BTW, IANAD.
posted by gambuzino at 2:53 PM on January 18, 2004


IANAD ? WTHDTAM ?

[ What the hell does this acronym mean? ]
posted by troutfishing at 4:09 PM on January 18, 2004


IANAD = "I am not a doctor"
and even,
IANADBIPOOT "I am not a doctor, but I play one on TV"
posted by milovoo at 4:33 PM on January 18, 2004


milovoo - thanks.
posted by troutfishing at 5:48 PM on January 18, 2004


on the other hand...
posted by shoepal at 8:31 AM on January 22, 2004


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