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Floridian Predictions


This week’s eWeek column is about a very important article that’s in this month’s Harvard Business Review, “America’s Looming Creativity Crisis” by Richard Florida. The HBR is — after its own special CEO-level version of a sex scandal — making a play to be seriously serious without being stuffy. It’s working.
This piece also marks Florida solidifying his reputation as the consultant/professor/wise man most likely to fill Peter Drucker’s shoes as the guy who knows what’s going on in this century. He’s got a new book coming out next year, a consulting business, and, one suspects, a very hard-working PR team. I’m normally a little suspicious of trend-spotters like Florida. He created a trend with his first book, finding his creative class and now he’s worried they’ll go away. But this is an important set of insights.

The eWeek column spells out in detail why I think Florida’s work on the creative class – that’s you, netboy – is so important. So I’ll save the virtual ink and send you over to HBR’s site there to plop down the $6 to buy a copy. Suffice it to say that I think Florida’s identification of a group – and his ability to name that group – is a step in seeing how parts of that group, the folks I call Progressive Libertarians, behave politically. There are a number of elements of Florida’s thesis that will strike a cord with Progressive Libertarians. He calls for long-term spending on infrastructure (think Prop 71, the stem cell ballot initiative). He thinks it’s vital for the U.S. economic survival to encourage immigration (think Vinod Khosla and Sabeer Bhatia who warrant mentions in Florida’s piece) and make the most of the brain power that willing comes to this country. He’s urging bi-partisan solutions to economic policy, which is always a good strategy with this crowd (think Arnold Schwarzenegger and Steve Westly).
Florida does broad economic policy and he’s pretty much talking to business people so there are plenty of gaps in what he’s proposing. But the idea that the free market cannot be left to decide the fate of the not-yet-creative class is an important one and it points the way toward the need to revise a host of U.S policies – trade, tax, benefits and the like – that need a good, smart look by people willing to help those who don’t have Caltech, MIT, or Stanford degrees. I’ve written a lot about this in the past and I will in the future for a variety of reasons. It is probably the fulcrum of a series of policy choices this country faces and must handle very carefully in the coming years. Silicon Valley and the tech world in general have been able to get buy on a kind of businessman’s politics – carefully sliced off deals that are transactional, to reach a specific goal. That political vision needs to broaden.

Share  Posted by Chris Nolan at 12:08 PM | Permalink

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