Friday, February 08, 2008

Beyond the Valley of the Creative Class

sidewalk-level creativity, Cooper-Young, MemphisAfter a false start, I have finished reading Richard Florida's The Rise of the Creative Class. Despite my earlier misgivings, I found that Florida places his creative class in the vanguard of the creativity-driven changes in our lives and economy, not as a static uber-class of hipsters shipped in to make backwater polities more attractive.

He writes:
Some people find the very notion of the Creative Class elitist. But the existence of a large and growing new class of highly paid creative workers is not the problem; in fact, I submit it is a healthy sign. What is elitist -- and inequitable, inefficient, and even dangerous -- is the persistence of a social order in which some people are considered natural creators, while others exist to serve them, carry out their ideas and tend to their personal needs. Keeping creativity as the province of the select few is a real prescription for trouble of all sorts, from injustice to inefficiency.
This social order is precisely what persists in Memphis. And, ironically, this order champions the Creative Class for these very exclusivist reasons. We have the inequity, inefficiency, trouble and danger to prove it.

We should stop talking about the Creative Class. Around here there's a 90% chance that any enthusiastic mention is a gilding of the same old shit. I blame the word "class."

Instead let's make Memphis a democratically creative city. If Florida is right, the Creative Class will be there, but so will the rest of us.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Aaron said...

You have now set the tone for reading "Ripples from the Zambesi"by Earnesto Sirolli. I'd give you my copy to read but I loaned it out again. Any luck getting a copy yet?

Anyhow, his focus is insuring that the creative class is not a function of previledge and social order. It's gratifying to read a book that hits this problem square on the head.

Could you email me again? I tried emailing you the feasibility study using the email address you gave me and it keeps bouncing back. Just shoot me an email through my contact site page. Thanks Gates.

11:19 AM  
Blogger PeskyFly said...

Yes, exactly.

4:41 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Gates: Your mailbox is full.

8:57 AM  
Blogger bob said...

What GOM said. Hear, hear!

9:52 AM  
Blogger MRC-T said...

I agree!

2:14 PM  

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