duminică, 23 ianuarie 2011

The New American Dream

The key factor going largely unheeded is the rise of creativity as the central force in economy. Without great waves of new products, technologies and industries, the economy would barely have grown since the dark days of the 1970s and early 1980s. Innovation does not come magically from an invisible hand. It comes from people. In recent history, the number of people doing creative work has exploded. Those in creative occupations – from engineers and designers to artists and writers to higher-end planners, analysts, managers, and other creative professionals – now comprise more than 30 percent of the workforce. Creative-sector workers today outnumber blue-collar workers. And the creative sector of the economy accounts for nearly half of all wages and salary income – $1.7 trillion dollars per year and it adds trillions of dollars to the country’s GDP. The rise of the creative sector has also changed the way people work, as well as their expectations.

The real key to driving the economy forward and completing an emergent creative system does not lie in financial incentives alone but in summoning innovation – human creativity.[1] During the Internet bubble and dot.com bust, stock options and financial incentives were offered to motivate creative people, but they proved to be useless. Peter Drucker said that one cannot bribe the knowledge workers on whom certain industries depend. They have to be treated as if they were volunteers whose commitment to the organization is contingent. Creative people respond to intrinsic rewards. They are trying to enact their personalities in their creative work and it is a mistake to think they are motivated by financial incentives. Every worker wants to feel challenged and motivated. Peer recognition, the power of the teamwork, tough challenges, flexibility and stability motivate them. Creative people want the freedom to work on their own terms and their own time.

[1] FLORIDA, Richard, “The New American Dream.The economy will prosper again when more Americans can do the work they love. The party that realizes this first wins”, http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0303.florida.html

Richard Florida

According to Richard Florida, cities in other parts of the world are outscoring American cities on measures of new talent, diversity and brainpower. Brussels is fast becoming a creative-class center to rival Boston, Seattle and Austin. Vancouver and Toronto are also set to take off: both city regions have a higher concentration of immigrants to help drive their creative economies than do New York, Miami or Los Angeles. As creative centres, Sydney and Melbourne rank alongside Washington and New York.

What should alarm U.S. economists and legislators, according to Florida, is that metropolises from other developed countries are transforming themselves into magnets for higher-value-added industries through a variety if means: from government-subsidized laboratories to partnerships between top local universities and industry. Most of all, they are attracting foreign creative talent, including American from graduate students to established intellectuals and top scientists. The best young creative minds are no longer flocking to America, as they did for decades. As a result, future cultural and industrial revolutions are less likely to begin in the United States.

To strengthen our creative economy so that it produces more jobs to replace the ones we're losing, the U.S. desperately needs economic, cultural and political leadership with enough savvy to bridge ideological, geographical and international gaps. Florida concludes. Until politicians on both sides of the aisle catch on, the responsibility will surely fall to American economic leaders to create business and trade environments that are increasingly diverse, tolerant and inclusive, and to draw on the immense reservoir of foreign and domestic talent that will pull the American creative economy out of its current stall.


Creativity is now the driving force in economic growth and a new creative class has become the dominant class in American society, as the industrial economy is fading away and the creative economy is taking its place. According to Richard Florida, the creative class is a disparate selection of occupations. Because most members of this class do not see themselves as part of it, its members need to develop their class consciousness. The economist argued against the widespread belief that sunshine, cheap land, and low taxes would determine which regions of the USA would prosper over the next few decades.[1]

What Richard Florida notices is that there is a tendency of creative people of different sorts to move to cities with particular characteristics, particularly technology (high-tech industry), talent (highly-educated workforce) and tolerance (population diverse enough).[2] Cities that score highly on an index of these characteristics (like Boston, San Francisco and Austin) are the places most likely to see a real creative community grow with many promised economic and social benefits.[3]

However, in the newly published “The Flight of the Creative Class”, the Hirst Professor of Public Policy at the School of Public Policy at George Mason University and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution states that the USA cannot count on being the mecca for the highly-educated forever. In his opinion, places like Massachusetts display a form of exclusivity that seems to be the problem about many creative cities: the cost of living there. Places like Silicon Valley, Cambridge, Massachusetts and even New York used to be places where young creative, new immigrant families, social and economic outcasts, and intrepid entrepreneurs could go to get a start. But these places now number among the nation’s least affordable housing markets.[4] For the first time in modern memory, top scientists and intellectuals from elsewhere are choosing not to come to the U.S. Florida says. The altered flow of talent – aided by more stringent security measures is already beginning to show signs of crimping the scientific process.[5]

[1] SULLIVAN, Robert David, Globe Newspaper,  July 17, 2005, http://www.creativeclass.org/
[2] FLORIDA, Richard, “The Rise of the Creative Class”, Basic Books, New York, 2002
[3] SCHUSSMAN, Alan and HEALY,Kieran, “Culture, Creativity and the Economy: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Sources”, University of Arizona, 2002, p. 3
[4] SULLIVAN, Robert David, Globe Newspaper,  July 17, 2005, http://www.creativeclass.org/
[5] Research Technology Management, fin 2004, Richard Florida

Conventional economics

This multiple leverage capacity of information in cyberspace casts the meaning of monopoly in an entirely different light from that conceived in conventional economics, providing far more acute evidence of the special character of information monopoly and cultural monopoly. Anti-trust or competition law, whose fundamental legal and regulatory assumptions derive from industrial economics of supply, demand, and control over the factors of production, is ill-equipped to deal with the prospect of rapid acceleration in the monopolization of knowledge and ideas within very brief windows of time. As proprietary control over ideas spreads through the information network, the ability to work with existing ideas to innovate new forms becomes reduced, thus creating the economic and social irony of information scarcity coexisting within an environment of enlarged access to information technology.[1]

In conventional economics, the place of the creative class is scarce, if nonexistent. The rise of the creative class comes to justify the need for different actors in the context of the creative economy. This new class comes to strengthen the consciousness of a new era, in which the must is innovation and/or creativity. The problem with the creative class is that it should be first of all understood and second of all protected.

[1] VENTURELLI, Shalini, “From the Information Economy to the Creative Economy: Moving Culture to the Center of International Public Policy”, Center for Arts and Culture, Washington DC, www.culturalpolicy.org