June 27, 2012

"If Madi­son was such a Cre­ative Class hotbed over­flow­ing with inde­pen­dent, post-industrial work­ers like myself, we should have fit in."

"Yet our pres­ence didn’t seem to mat­ter to any­one, cre­atively or oth­er­wise. And any­way, Madison’s economy was hum­ming along with unem­ploy­ment around four per­cent, while back in fun, cre­ative Port­land, it was more than twice that, at eight and a half per­cent. This was not how the world accord­ing to Florida was sup­posed to work. I started to won­der if I’d mis­read him. Around town I encoun­tered a few other trans­plants who also found them­selves scratch­ing their heads over what the fuss had been about. Within a cou­ple years, most of them would be gone."

From "The Fall of the Creative Class," by Frank Bures. "Florida" is Richard Florida, author of "The Rise of the Cre­ative Class," who theorized that artists (and gay people and immigrants) cause economic growth, so a city that wants economic expansion ought to adopt a strategy of attracting artists.

Via Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

58 comments:

The Pretentious Ignoramus said...

The only useful information in the linked article: don't sleep with your pet parrots.

Charlie said...

Might I suggest a "mistaking correlation for causation" tag? Should be especially useful during campaign season.

Scott M said...

Artists do increase economic activity, but only those that aren't self-aware.

Tibore said...

"Florida’s idea was a nice one: Young, inno­v­a­tive peo­ple move to places that are open and hip and tol­er­ant. They, in turn, gen­er­ate eco­nomic inno­va­tion. I loved this idea because, as a free­lance writer, it made me impor­tant. I was poor, but some­how I made every­one else rich! It seemed to make per­fect sense."

Seems like the central mistake is worse than mistaking correlation for causation. It feels as though adherents are mistaking assertion for explanation.

Patrick said...

Seems like the central mistake is worse than mistaking correlation for causation.

Actually, I think it reverses cause and effect. A strong, vibrant economy allows people to spend money on the stuff creative types produce. I also think it's rather narrow minded to lump gays in with creative types. Like anyone else, I would presume that gays are looking for opportunity.

edutcher said...

An interesting theory.

I would see artists like the lilies of the field - they toil not, neither do they spin.

Ann Althouse said...

Via Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

He never did marry Pussy Galore.

He went with her sister.

Kitty.

Phil 3:14 said...

Well it did lead to economic growth,

Florida's that is.

Tibore said...

That said, the premise of the Frank Bures piece pretty much is all about what both Charlie and I both said: That the Florida thesis is unsupported.

EDH said...

Florida’s idea was a nice one: Young, inno­v­a­tive peo­ple move to places that are open and hip and tol­er­ant. They, in turn, gen­er­ate eco­nomic inno­va­tion. I loved this idea because, as a free­lance writer, it made me impor­tant. I was poor, but some­how I made every­one else rich! It seemed to make per­fect sense. Madi­son, by that rea­son­ing, should have been clam­or­ing to have me, since I was one of the mys­ti­cal bear­ers of prosperity.

It sounds like the hipster version of Keynesianism: instead of increased government spending, economic growth is the result of more hipsters per square mile.

Notice how both economic models self-aggrandize the importance of their proponents.

bagoh20 said...

People rarely get challenged about calling themselves "creative". It's assumed that if you do, then you probably need to be handled pretty carefully, like a baby bird.

Yesterday morning some baby wrens nesting on my patio decided it was time to leave the nest. There were two, and neither could really fly yet, so they were hopping around the ground right in front of three pit bulls, who just laid there watching them and not lifting a paw. I tried to put them back in the birdhouse, but they refused to go in, so I put them in a tree where the parents were. I hope they survived, but they will need to stay clear of the less creative crows.

robinintn said...

And Homeownership leads to prosperity! That worked out great.

Icepick said...

Steve Sailer's been on this for a while now. Here's a link to his latest.

Also, he proposes that

bagoh20 said...

Yea, whats with the stereotypes? Most of the gays I know couldn't create a macaroni ash tray, although I do think it takes quite a creative mind to find men sexy.

Scott M said...

People rarely get challenged about calling themselves "creative". It's assumed that if you do, then you probably need to be handled pretty carefully, like a baby bird.

Baby bird treatment might have helped Kurt Cobain, who would probably be on something like his seventh or tenth platinum album by now. Tons of economic activity there.

It's Cortney's fault...

t-man said...

Florida's thesis was a total inversion of reality. The Renaissance was the result of increased weaith resulting from improved banking and trade in Europe (first in Italy, then spreading North). The now hated bourgeousie began to compete with the church and princes to fund "the creative class."

Florida's ideas were only popular because it gave pretentions poseurs another opportunity to look down upon those boring types upon which society actually depends.

Studies after Florida reported that the ecomomic health of a city is best measured by the number of "married with children" households. Just as anyone with an ounce of common sense (and little desire for self-delusion) would expect.

edutcher said...

bag, they're all fabulous, creative is optional.

As for finding men sexy, women do it all the time.

(you don't mean...?)

WV "spoonem" What McGarrett says to Dan-O when they bust a house of ill repute.

Scott said...

Only since the 1960s have we had a creative class. Before then, creativity was what you brought to whatever you did. You weren't a "creative" with identifiable class characteristics.

Then again, class (as opposed to demographic) is a stupid concept.

Scott said...

The boldest, most creative people are often far, far away from any urban hotbed of creativity. Socialization of creatives generates a community of hacks.

bagoh20 said...

There is no doubt that some people are very creative, but that quality is also the one most often claimed by those who have nothing. It can be very painful to be "creative".

virgil xenophon said...

Funny Portland and the "artistic community" should come up today. I was just reading a guest article last night by Nancy Rommelmann (late of LA, friend of "Advise Goddess" Amy Alkon, now a resident of Portland) in the 27 Nov 2010 Portland Oregonion entitled: " Is Portland the new Neverland?" about the whole "creative class" bit.(Link at her web-site) Go read the article. VERY revealing..

Jason said...

Wenn ich "creatives" hore, entsichere ich meinen Browning.

Matthew Sablan said...

Art is nice; but when there's less money to be used on nice things as opposed to essential things, it tends to not be as useful.

Jason said...

TITUS!!!!!

rehajm said...

Artists and creative types can indeed spur economic growth. Blighted areas are attractive to creative types- Rents are cheap. Abandoned factory buildings make for fabu studio space. So artists move in and instill stability to the area. Add coffee shops, retail, performance space. Gentrification. There's some culture and hipness for you. Other folks then become attracted to the area, drive up rents, sometimes driving out the creative class. Happens all the time...

AllieOop said...

Jason, ach Du und Deiner Browning noch ein mal.

rehajm said...

Florida’s idea was a nice one: Young, inno­v­a­tive peo­ple move to places that are open and hip and tol­er­ant. They, in turn, gen­er­ate eco­nomic inno­va­tion.

This is crap- young innovative people move to places with cheap rent. And while they may be hip and may spur economic activity, seldom are they open and/or tolerant of ideas counter to the liberal mainstream.

traditionalguy said...

Artists are individualists with little to share, more like monks in the desert. A social life is a community that accepts and even plans for contact among all types, all ages, all genders and all occupations...like a salon at Chez Althouse. That's what makes life fun.

Why the artists were ever expected to make people they don't like to be around happy is the mystery.

Matthew Sablan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Titus said...

I live in a Creative Community-Cambridge, Mass.

It's creative because there are many smart people here that are creating "start up" companies and we are number 2 in VC in the country.

We have lost some of the greatest start ups to Silicon Valley but we still have many. Also, health care, education, biotech, high tech industries are all booming here. You can work at a 20 person start up or a 10,000 employee biotech-pick from about 100 of them.

Madison doesn't have that. It has a university, state workers, fattys, old people, some insurance companies, and kids studying there for four years and then out of there.

As far as the gays, I hardly ever saw another gay while in Madison-seriously maybe 2-3 in one year. Every gay person I knew left for larger cities with bigger horizons.

And Madison is like totally white, not that there is anything wrong with that, but no exotic hog anywhere.

You can't swing a cat without hitting a fag or dyke here.

The downfall is rents and home prices are outrageous, but salaries are high. We never suffered the housing crisis like most communities. Also, everyone seems young-I sometimes feel too old here and someday will probably sublet my place and live in Maine or Jamaica Plain or Canada or at The Marigold Hotel.

Also, and most important, the guys are really hot.

tits.

LordSomber said...

By themselves, "creative" hipsters do not gen­er­ate eco­nomic inno­va­tion. They are dilettantes and do not go into the trades. Electricians, plumbers and construction workers do more for economic activity than artisan cupcake shoppes and vintage stores.

John Lynch said...

1. Attract artists to your city.

2. ?????

3. Profit!

Titus said...

Madison has tons of strip malls, housing "subdivisions" and domestic cars too.

But no hotties.

Petunia said...

If they were looking for open and tolerant, choosing Madison was a HUGE mistake. The last 18 months have conclusively proven that Madison's image is a lie.

The Farmer said...

rehajm said...
Artists and creative types can indeed spur economic growth. Blighted areas are attractive to creative types- Rents are cheap. Abandoned factory buildings make for fabu studio space. So artists move in and instill stability to the area. Add coffee shops, retail, performance space. Gentrification. There's some culture and hipness for you. Other folks then become attracted to the area, drive up rents, sometimes driving out the creative class. Happens all the time...


True. I was living in Wicker Park when it happened there. But in Madison there are already so many hip and relatively cheap neighborhoods for artists to live that they don't need to take over Allied Drive.

The Farmer said...

Also, actually spending a few days in Madison prior to moving here will make it clear that this is not a particularly good place for creative people, especially young, single creative people. It's got a small town mentality where the creative people do things like urge everybody to support local arts and music because the local art and music stinks too bad to succeed on its own merits.

But it's a great place for young people starting a family, especially middle to upper middle class people starting a family.

And Trunk is right - Madison schools do suck but plenty of the suburbs have great schools, and several of the burbs as close to downtown as neighborhoods on, say, the far west side. With the exception of downtown and a few (mostly expensive) neighborhoods, most of Madison pretty much is a giant suburb. If that bugs you, don't move here.

DADvocate said...

I guess you can theorize anything, but Florida made quite a leap. In my book, there are a lot of people more creative than your average artist. Farmers, mechanics, tradesmen, technical types of all sorts for beginners. I suppose the immigrant Indian cardiologist I know helped the economic growth, but not so much the Hispanic immigrants that drove down blue collar and farm labor wages. The lesbian ladies down the street keep their yard well trimmed and everything clean and neat, but there's nothing "creative" that I've seen.

garage mahal said...

If they were looking for open and tolerant, choosing Madison was a HUGE mistake. The last 18 months have conclusively proven that Madison's image is a lie

Yet you choose to live in Madison.

Rusty said...

Other than politicians and college professors, what industries does Madison support.

Paulio said...

I thought the linked article was great--I liked this quote in particular:
"Life is totally clear cut. It’s exactly what the research is. All the research says go live with your friends and fam­ily. Oth­er­wise, you have to look at why you’re not doing that. If you want to look at a city that’s best for your career, it’s New York, San Fran­cisco or Lon­don. If you’re not look­ing for your career, it doesn’t really mat­ter. There’s no dif­fer­ence. It’s split­ting hairs. The whole con­ver­sa­tion about where to live is bullshit.”

As to bagoh's point of gays incapable of making a macaroni ashtray--I don't think that sounds particularly safe! Surely the macaroni would start to char.

Jason said...

Titus came! Titus came! He answered our beacon!

God be praised!

Jason said...

What if Titus is Palladian's alter-ego? Like Gollum and Smeagle?

Ann Althouse said...

"As far as the gays, I hardly ever saw another gay while in Madison-seriously maybe 2-3 in one year. Every gay person I knew left for larger cities with bigger horizons."

By gay, you mean gay man. I think it's interesting if Florida lumps gay males and females into one group for economic analysis. It seems to me the effects of these 2 different groups would be quite different!

If you give Madison bonus points for the number of gay people, in some Richard Florida analysis, but the gay population is overwhelmingly female, as I think it is, that's not going to equate with the effect that a very large gay male population would have. Assuming there is this "creative class" effect in the first place, I mean.

Ann Althouse said...

"It's got a small town mentality where the creative people do things like urge everybody to support local arts and music because the local art and music stinks too bad to succeed on its own merits."

Yeah, the bad art problem.

We must have a glorious "arts" center... and then you're supposed to support it by going to see "Wicked" and "Jersey Boys."

garage mahal said...

Other than politicians and college professors, what industries does Madison support.

Epic employs 5200 people. Then there is Rayovac, Spectrum, Oscar Meyer, Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance, American Girl, Broadjam, Raven Software, Sonic Foundry, Panvera, Promega, Nimblegen, Covance. Those come to mind.

garage mahal said...

Er, Rayovac is now Spectrum make that.

Jason said...

Having played music semiprofessionally or professionally, at various times, most of my life, I can say that from my point of view, the arts community isn't worth a damn, and the hipsters and coffee houses are no support to the artistic community whatsoever except to devalue what I do.

The people who make it possible for me to play regularly are NOT the creative types, but the retired business people, the accountants, the contractors, the tradesmen, the computer technicians, the scientists, the statisticians, the educators, the carpenters and the entrepreneurs.

Very few of the "creatives" I see are very good at their own crafts, but have inflated opinions of their own abilities on their instruments (I'll leave it to the fine arts types to assess their own).

Yes, it's nice to have a critical mass of people to feed off of one another and push one anothers' boundaries... as C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien did for each other. But they both had day jobs (and were both war veterans who had seen a lot of fighting).

The young artists and creatives in my community can't support what I do, because they can't afford it. I see them trying to "support" local bands playing in pubs and they bring their own beer and drink it in the parking lot. Or they take up a table at a jazz club but don't order anything but tap water, and think by showing up they're "supporting" the arts.

The best way for peope to support the arts is to support themselves, first.

From my perspective, the only benefit they provide me, as a musician, is some names I can call to sub in if I want to take a night off.

wyo sis said...

"The best way for peope to support the arts is to support themselves, first."

That should be carved above every art center, artist colony, or art school door.

PatCA said...

Loved the essay. California is strewn with suburban downtowns with faux arts districts (financed by redevelopment money) populated with a smattering of hipsters. None are financially successful, unless you count the revenue from the districts that allow bars. There aren't enough financially hipsters to make a difference.

Alcohol sells, to hipsters and regular people alike. Oh, and addicts and vagrants, or homeless if you prefer, who are attracted to the alcohol and drug scene.

Alex said...

yes garage is the founder of Wisconsin's hitech community. He did it all.

Kirk Parker said...

jason,

What's wrong--cat got your umlaut?


(It's "höre", or "hoere" for the diaeresis-deprived.)



Love the paraphrase, though!

Kirk Parker said...

"Trunk is right"

Whoa--are you that Farmer???

Nom, nom... said...

No, Kirk... I just have better things to do than hunt around for the ASCII code or cut and paste an umlaut when my meaning and the joke is clear already.

Patrick said...

What if Titus is Palladian's alter-ego? Like Gollum and Smeagle?

Thanks for spoiling it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

What if Titus is Palladian's alter-ego? Like Gollum and Smeagle?

What if Nom, nom... is Jason's alter ego?

Titus said...

Florida is referring to gay men and lipstick lezzies. Boston and Cambridge and Somerville and Jamaica Plain are loaded with professional lipstick lezzys. Those lezzies and the fags even hangout together.

Not dykes, they are different.

I did see a decent amount of dykes in Madison, not anything that large for a city that size. But definitely more dykes than fags. They were incredibly manish=you don't see those kinds much in my city. The lezzies here are actually pretty and feminine and the fags actually look and act like men-unlike the fags in Madison who are complete women.

Providence is smaller than Madison and is filled with fags. I think it is a coastal and ethnic thing. Norwegian, German and Swiss Americans are generally not too hot either. There is like no Exotic Marigold Hog and Hotel in them. I need some spice.

tits.

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