Serving the Talented One-Third

Like N&R ed-page editor Allen Johnson (unposted), I also heard the NPR interview with Richard Florida, aka Mr. Creative Class.

Guess what —the “millions of entrepreneurs, writers, thinkers, engineers, the innovators who make an economy grow” still need their houses cleaned, their meals served, their lawns cut their shelves stocked, their oil changed and last but not least, their drinks poured. Somebody’s gotta do it, and those jobs don’t pay so much, no matter how thinkers a city’s got:

The first thing you have to do is figure out a way to engage the service companies, to call them together in a summit and say we’re going to work together to boost the wages and productivity of service workers. At the same time, begin to work on more affordable housing options, begin to work on how to increase density. If you’re in a city like Chicago or New York, where there is transit, encourage the development of more knowledge-intensive and creative work around transit nodes and connections. It’s a whole complex of things that’s going to make our cities more competitive and boost the wages, not only of the people at the talented one-third, but boost the wages of everyone.

The old saying goes the world needs ditch diggers, too, although in a free society the individual has the power to determine if or how long he wishes to dig ditches, even if he’s not a member of the talented one-third.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...

Reader Comments

  • Fred Gregory

    The Curse of the Creative Class

    “A generation of leftish policy-makers and urban planners is rushing to implement Florida’s vision, while an admiring host of uncritical journalists touts it. But there is just one problem: the basic economics behind his ideas don’t work. Far from being economic powerhouses, a number of the cities the professor identifies as creative-age winners have chronically underperformed the American economy. And, although Florida is fond of saying that, today, “place matters” in attracting workers and business, some of his top creative cities don’t even do a particularly good job at attracting—or keeping—residents. Before the rest of urban America embraces the Pittsburgh professor’s trendy nostrums, let’s take a closer look at them in practice ”