Richard Florida wrote The Rise of the Creative Class and was severely criticized for indicating that a new creative class was emerging as an economic engine, one characterized for being strongly influenced by bohemians (so-called "dropouts" and "hippie artists"), immigrants and gays. The core of his thesis is that "3Ts" are driving economies around the world: talent, technology and tolerance (of diversity.)
Under Florida's thesis, the U.S. is losing ground as an economic leader due to its increasingly-restrictive economic and security policies, along with its declining image in the world. Many of his arguments are expanded--and his critics refuted--in his new book The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent. The following are selected excerpts of commentary and passages of Florida's latest book, as found in the excellent blog Creative Generalist:
...The future is more likely to belong to dozens of smaller and more open creative nations than just a few superpowers. “More and more countries are coming to understand that lasting economic advantage relies on attracting and retaining talented people, rather than simply competing for goods, services, and capital.”
-“...the economic leaders of the future will not, I believe, be emerging giants like India and China, which rank far down the list, in forty-first and thirty-sixth place, even as they are becoming global centers for cost-effective manufacturing and the delivery of basic business processes. Instead they will be a host of smaller countries, such as Finland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, that have built dynamic creative climates, investing in talent, leveraging technology, and increasing their effort and ability to attract creative talent from around the world.” (p.155)
--Competition for creative talent, which is increasingly mobile and adventurous, is worldwide and its fierce. Open, stimulating, and networked cities, regions and countries will prevail. But it's not a zero-sum game; think of it as 'brain circulation' rather than 'brain drain'.
--The Creative Age is directly producing a range of damaging externalities, including everything from social and economic inequality to high stress and anxiety. One point Florida emphasizes often is that everyone has the capacity to be creative and that a healthy creative economy requires a healthy creative society.
-“The sprawl that demands and in turn is demanded by traffic congestion also wreaks havoc on our competitiveness. A stretched-out, sprawled metropolis, where professors no longer live near universities, where laboratories and high-tech firms can not co-locate, where entrepreneurs and newcomers are forced to the economic periphery, will lose the advantages that come from proximity, density, spontaneity, and face-to-face interaction. Factor in the hours upon days upon weeks lost to commuting time, missed meetings, and missed breakthroughs that don't occur when people can't get together and pool their brainpower, and it's clear that traffic is clogging more than our streets and decay is more than environmental.” (p.201)
-“…we can no longer afford to cater only to the monolithic notion of rote memorization that was important for the Industrial Revolution but has now become woefully outdated. ... What we really need in order to prepare our children for the creative economy is a comprehensive education, something that takes them from aesthetics to algebra without pretending the two are mutually exclusive. ...As society diversifies and specializes, more and more different kinds of education and teaching styles must be made available.” (p.254)
The Jenius Has Quoted.