Creative Class War

Posted: January 27, 2004 at 11:54 pm in links

I just wanted to link to this great article by Richard Florida that I saw referenced over at Corante’s IdeaFlow. Richard Florida is the author of The Rise of the Creative Class, which I really liked. In this article, entitled Creative Class War, he takes his ideas and uses them to set the stage for this year’s presidential election. In particular, he points out that the “blue” sections of the country that are considered Democratic or liberal tend to also be the cities that are attractive to the Creative Class and have a more technological creative focus, whereas the “red” sections are the ones that have a more traditional economic focus, such as assembly lines or agriculture. He also points out:

a much bigger problem. Other countries are now encroaching more directly and successfully on what has been, for almost two decades, the heartland of our economic success — the creative economy. Better than any other country in recent years, America has developed new technologies and ideas that spawn new industries and modernize old ones, from the Internet to big-box stores to innovative product designs. And these have proved the principal force behind the U.S. economy’s creation of more than 20 million jobs in the creative sector during the 1990s, even as it continued to shed manufacturing, agricultural, and other jobs.

Bush’s policies, by focusing on traditional economic centers such as the steel industry and by discouraging immigrants, have driven many talented foreigners away to other “creative centers” worldwide, giving a jump start to other countries’ creative economies. Bad news if America wants to maintain its preeminent economic status.

He also mentions in passing a point I touched on in my discussion of community, where I noted that “new technologies and cultural changes have created a nation which is slowly splitting itself apart into communities of choice.” He calls the phenomenon the Big Sort:

City by city, neighborhood to neighborhood, Gimpel and others have found, our politics are becoming more concentrated and polarized. We may live in a 50-50 country, but the actual places we live (inner-ring v. outer-ring suburbs, San Francisco v. Fresno) are much more likely to distribute their loyalties 60-40, and getting more lopsided rather than less. These divisions arise not from some master plan but from millions upon millions of individual choices. Individuals are sorting themselves into communities of like-minded people which validate their choices and identities. … More than ever before, those who possess the means move to the city and neighborhood that reinforces their social and cultural view of the world.

Good article. Well worth reading for a different perspective on how the real question may not be Democratic or Republican, but rather creative or industrial economy.

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