Flight of the Creative Class: Why America Is Losing the Global Competition for Talent... and What We Can Do to Win Prosperity Back

Florida, Richard

Research-driven and clearly written, bestselling economist Richard Florida addresses the growing alarm about the exodus of high-value jobs from the USA. Today's most valued workers are what economist Richard Florida calls the Creative Class. In his bestselling The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida identified these variously skilled individuals as the source of economic revitalisation in US cities. In that book, he shows that investment in technology and a civic culture of tolerance (most often marked by the presence of a large gay community) are the key ingredients to attracting and maintaining a local creative class. In The Flight of the Creative Class, Florida expands his research to cover the global competition to attract the Creative Class. The USA once led the world in terms of creative capital. Since 2002, factors like the Bush administration's emphasis on smokestack industries, heightened security concerns after 9/11 and the growing cultural divide between conservatives and liberals have put the US at a large disadvantage. With numerous small countries, such as Ireland, New Zealand and Finland, now tapping into the enormous economic value of this class - and doing all in their power to attract these workers and build a robust economy driven by creative capital - how much further behind will USA fall? Editorial Reviews BusinessWeek "A compelling and seductive thesis." Michele Wucker ... Florida, who teaches public policy at George Washington University, has sent a badly needed wake-up call to American leaders. -- The Washington Post Publishers Weekly Following up on The Rise of the Creative Class (2002), Florida argues that if America continues to make it harder for some of the world's most talented students and workers to come here, they'll go to other countries eager to tap into their creative capabilities-as will American citizens fed up with what they view as an increasingly repressive environment. He argues that the loss of even a few geniuses can have tremendous impact, adding that the "overblown" economic threat posed by large nations such as China and India obscures all the little blows inflicted upon the U.S. by Canada, Scandinavia, New Zealand and other countries with more open political climates. Florida lays his case out well and devotes a significant portion of this polemical analysis to defending his earlier book's argument regarding "technology, talent, and tolerance" (i.e. that together, they generate economic clout, so the U.S. should be more progressive on gay rights and government spending). He does so because that book contains what he sees as the way out of the dilemma-a new American society that can "tap the full creative capabilities of every human being." Even when he drills down to less panoramic vistas, however, Florida remains an astute observer of what makes economic communities tick, and he's sure to generate just as much public debate on this new twist on brain drain. 25-city radio tour. Agent, Susan Schulman. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. Foreign Affairs This well-written book has a simple thesis: the key to economic growth is innovation, and the key to innovation is properly encouraged human talent. The United States, Florida argues, is in the process of losing its preeminence as a destination for talent from around the world and is underinvesting in potential talent at home -- partly as a result of heavy-handed post-September 11 immigration restrictions, partly because of the attractions of other countries and cities. Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Dublin, Sydney, Wellington, and Toronto, among others, are drawing in energetic talent from around the world. In Florida's view, the key threat to the United States is not China or India; it is losing out to other places that will become the centers of innovation in the future world economy. (In his "global creativity index," based on measures of technology, talent, and tolerance -- the last because creative environments must tolerate people who think differently from the way the dominant group does -- the United States ranks fourth, behind Sweden, Japan, and Finland.) He proposes a two-pronged response: the United States should once again become more hospitable to foreign students and intellectuals -- indeed, to foreigners possessing any skills -- and it should do much more to develop the creative capacity of its indigenous population, particularly the 70 percent of the labor force not currently engaged in creative activities, with a strong emphasis, naturally, on transforming the educational system.

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