The Rise of the Creative Class

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Richard Florida explains the key forces that have been transforming the American economy and culture over the past several decades.

Beneath the surface, the rise of creativity as a fundamental economic force also created the rise of a new social class: The Creative Class spanning across all realms of science and technology, art and media. Artists have created an entirely new way of how we live, work, consume and extend into the rhythms, patterns and desires of our governed daily lives.

Just as the feudal aristocracy derived its identity and values from its hereditary control of land and people, the Creative Class derived its identity and values from is role as purveyors of creativity. Being comprised of nearly forty million Americans, the Creative Class employs more than 25% of all American people.

As TechCrunch put it: “In a time of high unemployment, when traditional skills can be outsourced or automated, creative skills remain highly sought after and highly valuable. We all want to be part of the Creative Class of programmers, designers, and information workers. The term used to mean artists and writers. Today, it means job stability.”

Florida proposes that diversity is not only a private virtue but also an economic necessity for success. That in order to build a society that acknowledges and nurtures the innate creativity of each and every human being, we must acknowledge the optimism and social / economic power that resides in the Creative Class.

The Creative Class stands at the forefront and shifts the original values that accord priority to meeting immediate material needs to the ones that stress belonging, a sense of self-expression, opportunity, environmental quality, diversity, community and the quality of life.

“Human creativity is the most spectacularly transformative force ever unleashed, and it is something that all of us can draw on to one degree or another. If the rise of this new order and new social class poses tremendous challenges, it carries the seeds of their resolution as well.” — Richard Florida

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


Review by Jasmine Marie