creativity and space

How important is creative freedom? Richard Florida has an approach to this question in economic terms, essay found via Chris Mooney.

Peter Jackson’s power play hasn’t been mentioned by any of the current candidates running for president. Yet the loss of U.S. jobs to overseas competitors is shaping up to be one of the defining issues of the 2004 campaign. And for good reason. Voters are seeing not just a decline in manufacturing jobs, but also the outsourcing of hundreds of thousands of white-collar brain jobs–everything from software coders to financial analysts for investment banks. These were supposed to be the “safe” jobs, for which high school guidance counselors steered the children of blue-collar workers into college to avoid their parents’ fate.

But the loss of some of these jobs is only the most obvious–and not even the most worrying–aspect of a much bigger problem. Other countries are now encroaching more directly and successfully on what has been, for almost two decades, the heartland of our economic success — the creative economy. Better than any other country in recent years, America has developed new technologies and ideas that spawn new industries and modernize old ones, from the Internet to big-box stores to innovative product designs. And these have proved the principal force behind the U.S. economy’s creation of more than 20 million jobs in the creative sector during the 1990s, even as it continued to shed manufacturing, agricultural, and other jobs.

Thus far the idea of creativity has come up in classes ranging from freshman composition, creative writing, and British Literature. Creativity isn’t just about poetry or character development; it’s also about mathematics, history, and physics. It has to do with how we use tech, paper, and the people around us to make things, good things. I don’t agree with all of Florida’s conclusions because they’re blanket, but the essence is there. People need room, space, to think.

4 thoughts on “creativity and space

  1. Rina

    Who reads Washington Monthly?I mean, besides for entertainment purposes…Who reads “Washington Monthly”?Mr. E, I beg. I thought you were anti-label.You toss me a bone like Matt Drudge. There’s little sustenance in that.How ’bout Thomas Sowell? How ’bout Walter E. Williams? How ’bout Peggy Noonan? How ’bout David Horowitz?How ’bout something from Washington Times? How ’bout Wall Street Journal?New York Post, even?***weary***Who reads Washington Monthly?Yer killin me.***shaking my head***What are the roots that clutch, what branches growOut of this stony rubbish? Son of man,You cannot say, or guess, for you know onlyA heap of broken images, where the sun beats,And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,And the dry stone no sound of water. OnlyThere is shadow under this red rock,(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),And I will show you something different from eitherYour shadow at evening rising to meet you;I will show you fear in a handful of dust.And tomorrow I start school…Looks like the gods are locked on to me.Washington Monthly…sniffle, sniffle…***buckling up…click, click***

  2. Rina

    Off subject…but on a brighter note.I briefly visited your Intro to Lit portion of the forum to see how other students interpret the material.Mainly because now looking back, I wonder if I over-reacted to writers like Plath. Even to this day, I get a 20Volt shock when I hear Plath’s name mentioned.And I gotta say, I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who was aversely affected by her writings.Thank you, Liz Mclean.Maybe I’m not so crazy after all.Well…maybe not so much :-)

  3. ersinghaus

    Plath is a great crafter of language. Her poems are like steel and silk. Well deserving of respect.

    Also, the piece in the WM might demand some specific critique. It’s bad because it was published here is a simple ad hominem fallacy.


  4. Rina

    Mr. E. You know how you said that one can learn how to think on his or her feet, that it is something that can be self-learned, through mental excercise, but not conventionally taught, and that the key is to ask a lot of questions?Well…the same applies to this.I’m not trying to weasle out of the critique…it’s complicated and it spans wider than this one piece, beyond the mission statement of WMs website.There are things that I see in this piece that are not apparent to the naked eye. And some that are subtle…for instance, I believe I’ve pointed out that the new buzzword for Global Warming is now Global Climate Change. At some point we will all replace the new phrase for the former and never really quite realize how it ever came to be. When was the last time you heard Greenhouse Effect? That phrase came to be phased out last year-ish.I also see talking points, I see innuendo, I see the seeds of fear being planted.On one hand I think it’s brilliant. On the other hand I want to wring the author’s neck because there are a lot of people out there who are going to fall for this rubbish without ever really knowing how it came to them.I’m not saying that everything that F is stating is crap…I’ll just point out that the best lies are spun with just enough truth to give it a credible appearance.I can critique this piece from WM until I’m blue in the face…pointing out all the subtle hits and innuendo but I think to really understand the disingenuousness in a piece like this, it requires one to tune into the rythmn on their own…to discover the pattern on their own. Because…it’ll just mean more and make more sense in the long run and it’ll give one a sense of ownership.What you’re asking me is to make sense out of a heap of broken images. Even the smartest person that I know couldn’t do that.

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