While I was in one of the breakout sessions at the Wright State Regional Summit today, it finally struck me as to why I really don’t like Richard Florida’s “Creative Class” buzz-phrase: it’s elitest. I hear the word class- and it’s one step to caste, you know the things they use in India where some people rate lower than cows.
Replace the term “Creative Class” with the concept of building “social capital” and it’s not longer exclusive but inclusive. Everyone can be part of our communities social capital- only certain people can be “creative class.” And like it or not- it takes all of us together to make this thing work.
You can’t be a captain of industry if you don’t have workers, nor can you expect everyone to be creative. Someone still has to cut the grass, take out the trash and ask “do you want fries with that.”
Off the top of my head- the keys to a vibrant growing economy:
- A community of learners
- Responsive government
- A bias toward action
- Equal opportunity
- Open and honest communications
- Shared vision
- Access to capital (both social and monetary)
There are others- but, the words “Creative Class” doesn’t say any of the above. It says “have’s and have not’s” to me. I want us all to share in the rewards of working together. Sounds socialistic- but, the reality is starting to become clear- when the gap between the rich and poor gets too big- we all suffer.