A New Florida Theory

Michael Stastny has a post up of the latest idea from the monorail salesman, Richard Florida. The City Journal quite ably rips apart his theory of the "creative class" with incovenient facts such as actual economic performance. Undoubtedly wanting to sell more books and perhaps gain some consulting work, he is back with another application of his "work" with the comparison of creative workers across countries in the Harvard Business Review. The U.S. lags behind other countries in this which would imply that Florida thinks we could lag in performance.

Unfortunately, actual economic performance gets in the way his theory once again. If you scroll down to the bottom of the post, Michael has put together a couple of graphs that seem to put a dent into this idea. There doesn't appear to be any correlation between the percentage of creative workers in a country and the 5 and 10 year growth rate.

There does appear to be one outlier there however, Ireland. It seemingly could provide some sort of anectdotal evidence that perhaps there could be some merit, just as say the fabulous wealth of Silicon Valley seemed to support his previous work with cities. Florida even wrote an op-ed telling Pittsburg to follow the Irish example. The big problem with this is that Ireland is a model of what countries, states and cities should be doing to spur economic growth, cutting taxes. Also, Ireland's growth was largely driven by investment from U.S. technology companies(almost half by some measures). In other words, while the Irish had an educated class of people available as a workforce, they didn't generate the ideas for new enterprises that drove the growth.

A quote from the City Journal article mentioned above sums it up nicely:

Now comes Florida with the equivalent of an eat-all-you-want-and-still-lose-weight diet. Yes, you can create needed revenue-generating jobs without having to take the unpalatable measures�shrinking government and cutting taxes�that appeal to old-economy businessmen, the kind with starched shirts and lodge pins in their lapels.


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This page contains a single entry by Bob published on November 30, 2004 4:33 PM.

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