"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
June 9, 2005

I Choose To Fly Creative Class

I’ve been enjoying The Flight of the Creative Class by Richard Florida. This book contends that there are around 100-150M people around the world in ‘creative’ jobs who are mostly responsible for driving the engine of globalisation. Moreover the economic prospects of many countries hinges on both retaining and attracting those within this class, who […]

I’ve been enjoying The Flight of the Creative Class by Richard Florida. This book contends that there are around 100-150M people around the world in ‘creative’ jobs who are mostly responsible for driving the engine of globalisation. Moreover the economic prospects of many countries hinges on both retaining and attracting those within this class, who tend to be highly mobile.

However, the thesis isn’t just about economics, but it is also about social theory. Florida claims that to have economic growth driven by the creative class, three things are needed; technology, talent and tolerance. The last point, especially as it relates to social openness and diversity is very telling and provides the main reason why cosmopolitan cities are so attractive to the creative class (it also gives us some insight into why some non-urban contexts also attract creatives). What is also interesting to me is the emphasis Florida places on immigration policy in attracting the creative class.

When I remember back to my school days, we were discuraged from thinking about creative professions (especially art, music, film and so on), in favour of “real jobs” like manufacturing (where the prospects would not be so good now), and computing/financial services (from boom to outsourcing in one decade!). What stands out in Florida’s analysis is that the kinds of jobs that can be sustained through the transitions of globalisation tend to bethose that depend personal passion and interpersonal contact. In fact, most in the creative class opt to take lower pay, either at the start of their career, or at key changes in career in order to do what they want and to work the way they want. In my experience I have seen this time and again, whether the person is a musician, or architect, hairdresser or marketer/advertiser, artist or academic.

Human mobility is one of the cardinal issues of globalisation. However, it is all too often thought of in terms of refugees, asylum-seekers and the economic migration of the poor. All of these are important problems that require attention. However, Florida’s line of thought suggests another facet to the question of human economic mobility that also demands consideration as well. It also, to me at least, suggests some serious questions for church leaders to consider as well.

Technorati Tags: Globalisation, Cosmopolitanism , Creative Class, Richard Florida

Responses
Rod 17 years ago

Thanks for checking out my blog. I find these insights to be encouraging as a creative person who has been struggling to find my feet in this globalized world. It seems however that God’s spirit is at the heart of what is good about these dramatic changes in the way we live, do business, and create. However, we must flow with Him in order to overcome the downside of globalization (e.g. growing economic disparities, proliferation of nuclear technology, pandemic diseases etc.). You are right, it is something for church leaders and all Christians to consider. Quite frankly, I believe the overly hierarchical nature of most churches is incompatible with globalization and creative congregants.

Eddie 16 years ago

You stated, ‚Äúthe kind of jobs that can be sustained through the transitions of globalisation tend to be those that depend personal passion and interpersonal contact‚Äù. That makes sense to me. Personal passion speaks of obedience to calling, not getting the “real job” society or tradition dictates. Interpersonal speaks of relationships and community, maintaining individuality but belonging to the group. This creative class is finding success because knowingly or not, it is obeying these fundamental Biblical principles.

Yet, I have two concerns. The first relates to how we define “tolerance”. If by tolerance we mean my acknowledging your right to hold an opinion different than mine, then I am all for it. But today it seems to mean that I not only have to acknowledge your right to hold an opinion different than mine but also acknowledge that your opinion is as valuable or as correct as mine. The second concern is what we mean by “diversity”. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had an ad campaign that declared “diversity is our strength”. Unity with diversity is the balanced position that produces strength–e pluribus unum, the Trinity, one body with many members, the two shall become one. How can two (diversity) walk together unless they be in agreement (unity)?

Finally, I agree with Rod. The effectiveness of hierarchical churches will dwindle in the years to come. Smaller, freer, locally self-governed churches, will prevail.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

For me tolerance means being able to accept that other people will organise their life differently. However, I don’t think tolerance needs to mean emptying ourselves of the capacity to make moral evaluations. To some extent it does mean being able to see the value in positions that we do not totally agree with, but it doesn’t mean abandoing the facility to condemn or reject some positions.

This really comes back to the what defines a fundamentalist idea. It is not that the fundamentalist makes moral evaluations that the non-fundamentalist fails to make. It is that the fundamentalist feels entitled to impose their moral evaluations on others through state and institutional means.

I think we can be meaningfully tolerant whilst retaining the ability to be critical ane evaluative in a non-fundamentalist way. If anything, that is an essential move for mission-minded Christians in the Creative Class and also for Christians who want to maintain worthwhile fellowship with other Christians with whom they have serious conceptual disagreement.

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