Richard Florida – The Rise of the Creative Class

Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class: and How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life, NY: Basic Books, 2002.

– “we now have an economy powered by human creativity. Creativity… is now the decisive source of competitive advantage”(5)
– “Thus creativity has come to be the most highly prized commodity in our economy – and yet it is not a “commodity””(5).
– “…taking people who would once have been viewed as bizarre mavericks operating at the bohemian fringe and setting them at the very heart of the process of innovation and economic growth”(6).
– “…as the fundamental source of creativity, people are the critical resource of the new age”(6).

New Class
– “A class is a cluster of people who have common interests and tend to think, feel and behave similarly, but these similarities are fundamentally determined by economic function – by the kind of work they do for a living”(8). [but not by the possession of the means of production?]
Creative Class – “Some 38 million Americans, 30 percent of all employed people, belong to this new class”(8).
– Working Class – 25 percent
– Service Class – 45 percent(?)
– “… the Creative Class is the norm-setting class of our time…. is dominant in terms of wealth and income”(9).
– “…the key to improving the lot of underpaid, underemployed and disadvantaged people lies not in social welfare programs or low-end make-work jobs – nor in somehow bringing back the factory jobs of the past – but rather in tapping the creativity of these people, paying them appropriately for it and integrating them fully into the Creative Economy”(10). [isn’t it neo-liberal?]
– New Economy [remaking of “economic geography” –> class identity –> new values] –> Transformation of everyday life

Everyday life
– “…New Economy: It is the emergence of a new society and a new culture – indeed a whole new way of life”(12).
– “no-collar workplace… self-management…. soft control… work more independently… we want the ability to learn and grow, shape the content of our work, control our own schedules and express our identities through work”(13).
– “…impatient with the strict separations that previously demarcated work, home and leisure”(13).
– David Brooks, Bobos in Paradise – “new culture represents a blending of bourgeois and bohemian values” (13).
– “…working from home and seemingly playing at work…. 24/7 worksay… A whole new social construction of time is thus emerging” (14).
– creative community – diversity and a richness of experiences that are the wellsprings of creativity. (15).

Romanticizing the future vs. Gloryfying the past
– utopian faith in the power of technology : George Gilder, Kevin Kelly, Dan Pink
– techno-pessimists: Jeremy Rifkin, Richard Sennett, Jill Fraser, Tom Frank, Robert Putnam
– Paul David – “it is not technology per se that powers long-run economic growth… Long-run growth requires a series of garadually accumulating changes in the organizational and institutional fabric of society… they are the result of incremental shifts in human behavior and social organization”(16-7).
– “The deep and enduring changes of our age are not technological but social and cultural… gradual accumulation of small, incremental changes in our day-to-day lives”(17).

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