The Rise of the Creative Class (New York: Basic Books,
2002). Paperback, 434 pages. Grades 10-12.
The Flight of the Creative Class: The New
Global Competition for Talent (New York:
HarperCollins, 2005). Grades 10-12.
gained national attention last year due to the publication of a sequel to The
Rise of the Creative Class. I read the sequel The Flight… and
did not find it nearly as compelling and provocative as the 2002 work, The
Rise of the Creative Class.
The Rise of
the Creative Class
presents several challenges to the Christian Church. Most notorious is Florida’s
claim that communities that welcome homosexuality are the most likely to
flourish in the new creative class economy. In addition he contrasts two Americas:
1) church based, mostly rural, civic minded and 2) cosmopolitan, diverse,
upwardly mobile (p. 281). He characterizes church based societies as
close minded, less receptive to innovation, and consequently less able to
participate in the development of wealth, innovation, and forces of change in America.
Florida bolsters his claim with statistics from
indexes. Those areas in America
which are seeing the greatest economic growth (mostly large cities) show the
greatest acceptance of bohemians and gays. This social openness he
contents attracts the largest pool of creative talent and encourages the
generation of wealth. I find, however, that Florida is quite selective in his choice of
indexes. In the book he notes (only in passing!) that the areas with
greatest economic growth also have the highest instances of substance abuse (p.
xiv), lowest birthrate (p. 250) and greatest income inequalities (p.
263). In addition it would not be surprising to find that murder rates
and instances of pedophilia also are higher in these areas of economic
growth. His selective use of indexes skews the argument to support a certain
social and political agenda. In his second book he is quite defensive of
use of the indexes, but misses the point that he has selectively chosen his
indexes for his argument. The reason for the correlation between the
indexes and economic growth is that creative people are more creative in the
ways they do both good things and evil things.
Florida’s observations on the change of class
structures in American society are well supported and quite illuminating.
His solutions to moral decline in urban centers, however, appeal to societal
regulations, education, and government intervention. Never does he
advocate that a change of the heart is needed.
I think it is
worthy of consideration, however, that churches are not characterized as places
of creativity and innovation. I think Christianity in general has failed
to fully capitalize on the creativity of people and produce churches that are
magnets for creative people. We have a tough battle to fight because the
readership of this book will agree that the church based community is resistant
to creativity. Fortunately Trinity is countering this trend, but no doubt
more needs to be done.
Terry Ewell (March 2006)