Lynne d Johnson

 

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06.24.02 10:10 PM

randomness

Thanks to Trayc, I found out a way to meet other Brooklyn bloggers. Oh yeah, you can sign up too, it isn't just for Brooklyn folks, there is an international blogger day.

Weblogger
blog.meetup.com

George was interested in seeing more folks' political compass. I seem to fall somewhere in the area of Ghandi. Here are my results:
Economic Left/Right: -5.50
Authoritarian/Libertarian: -4.46

Interesting review on Alternet about the latest It book, "The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life," by Richard Florida, a professor of regional economic development at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. This book is much in line with my politcal compass. I think I might have to pick it up.

Don Hazen writes:
This is a smart and interesting book that takes a well-known cultural phenomenon—the critical massing of technology and creative workers of talent in certain cities—and mixes in some new elements about why they cohere.

The result is the emergence of a regional economic theory built around diversity. Florida cautions that if American cities and towns don't support a local culture in which gays and ethnically diverse populations, as well as quirky creative talents, can flourish, they will lose out in the economic struggle for investment resources, growth of new cutting edge industries and university expansion.

What makes Florida's argument particularly provocative is that it makes an economic case for tolerance, civil rights and a broadly defined cultural experience (including a vibrant nightlife), while scoffing at the American corporate model as a dinosaur on the road to extinction.

And excerpts of an interview, conducted by Christopher Dreher with Florida on Salon.

How does your definition of the creative class—which includes 30 percent of the working population, a large class—differ from the findings of others who have noted the emergence of new types of knowledge and technological workers?

The fundamental thing that's different from many people before me—such as Daniel Bell talking about the rise of the postindustrial society in the information age and the service class, or Peter Drucker talking about knowledge workers, or others talking about the professional-technical class—what I'm talking about is the fact that it isn't just knowledge workers, it isn't just scientists and engineers, it isn't just technology people. It's that creativity is multidimensional. Certainly there are scientists and engineers and professional-technical people, but there are people in other fields and other walks of life who use their creativity—in particular , artists, entertainers, musicians and cultural producers.

My argument is that in order to harness creativity for economic ends, you need to harness creativity in all its forms. You can't just generate a tech economy or information economy or knowledge economy; you have to harness the multidimensional aspects of creativity. So the book says that there are three types of creativity: technological creativity, which is innovation, new products and ideas and technologies; economic creativity, which includes entrepreneurship, turning those things into new businesses and new industries; and cultural and artistic creativity, the ability to invent new ways of thinking about things, new art forms, new designs, new photos, new concepts. Those three things have to come together to spur economic growth.

I think I actually define the classes pretty narrowly. The creative class is composed of two dimensions. There is the supercreative core, which are scientists, engineers, tech people, artists, entertainers, musicians— so-called bohemians that are about 12 percent of the workforce, up from well less than 5 percent at the turn of the century. And subsequent analysis by Robert Cushing suggests that the supercreative core is really the driving force in economic growth. In addition to the supercreative core, I include creative professionals and managers, lawyers, financial people, healthcare people, technicians, who also use their ideas and knowledge and creativity in their work. I don't include people in service or manufacturing industries who use creativity in their work.

My sense is that this creative class will grow and grow and grow over time.

Explain the indices.

My theory uses the three T's: technology, talent and tolerance. You need to have a strong technology base, such as a research university and investment in technology. That alone is a necessary but not in itself sufficient condition. Second, you need to be a place that attracts and retains talent, that has the lifestyle options, the excitement, the energy, the stimulation, that talented, creative people need. And thirdly, you need to be tolerant of diversity so you can attract all sorts of people—foreign-born people, immigrants, woman as well as men, gays as well as straights, people who look different and have different appearances.

My indicators try to catch elements of those three things. We have two indicators of technology—the innovation index, which is a measure of patents in an area of population, and the high-tech index, which we just adapted from the Milken Institute, which is in California and invented this great index of high-tech company concentrations. We use our creative-class index—percent creative class and percent supercreatives—as our talent measure. On tolerance we have the melting-pot index, which is immigrants, and the gay index, which takes people living in households where partners in the household were of the same sex.

Gays are the canaries of the creative economy. Where gays are will be a community—a city or a region—that has the underlying preconditions that attract the creative class of people. Gays tend to gravitate toward the types of places that will be attractive to many members of the creative class. That said, a high score on the gay index, for example, New Orleans or Miami, does not translate into being a creative center, unless you couple that with technology assets. It's not that gays predict high-tech growth, it's that gays signal an environment that would attract creative-class people from a variety of backgrounds.

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