Recommended Book: The Flight of the Creative Class

I've followed Richard Florida's theories for a few years.  Building upon The Rise of the Creative Class, where he introduced us to his model whereupon a certain group of people whose job relies not only on the consumption of knowledge, but also on the creation of it, and how the world economy is changing, he introduces this book where he expands on the concept and what does it mean for individuals and countries.

The edition I bought starts with his essay The World is Spiky where he critiques The World is Flat, saying that it only looks flat from one peak to the next, but there's plenty of places that haven't yet gotten connected.

Furthermore, the whole idea of the book is simply that the people constituting this creative class are highly mobile and will settle wherever they see fit, therefore having a huge influence in the prosperity of the places they choose.  According to his analysis, this choice is guided by 3 factors: Talent, Tolerance & Technology, and he goes on identifying places in the United States and abroad that are doing all they can to attract and retain their "brains".

Whereas his results for North America seem well founded, he tends to get in a flimsier position when identifying creative class hubs outside of that zone.  He, for example, lumps Helsinki-Tampere-Oulu as an area (which is rather like talking about Brussels, Barcelona and London being in the same neighbourhood). 

There are, however, certain things that leaders in Finland should take to heart, as he mentions explicitly in page 173: "Not all cities are able to compete effectively for global talent.  There are a signficant number… indicating that they are either attracting a very narrow band of immigrants or not attracting many immigrants period.  Cities in this group include… the Scandinavian centers of Helsinki and Oslo.  These places are challenged by their lack of appeal to global talent and will need to improve their diversity and tolerance if they wish to compete at the global cutting edge."

In other words: your educational system is excellent, your use of technology second to none, but the lack of diversity puts a hold on the ideas and points of view you can create here, which is a definite minus in these terms.  As I've mentioned before, there's a lot of foreigners here who work as hard as everybody else here, and not feeling welcome will make them leave, taking their skills with them.  Furthermore, as more and more Finns get to know and appreciate that kind of diversity somewhere else, they will also leave.

For Mexico there is also a lot of lessons to be learned from this book, but I have mostly covered them in another post.  Further moderation of Mexican racist attitudes would also be most welcome.

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