Joel Kotkin’s recent article in Forbes titled “The Smackdown of the Creative Class” got me thinking about the Orwellian nature of that term “creative class.” I really enjoy Kotkin’s analysis (though I don’t always agree with his conclusions) because he understands how important demographics are to long-term economic and political outcomes. I found this article interesting in that his description of the creative class fits the profile of a wealth alchemist–one who favors short-term consumption over long-term wealth creation.
The financial boomlet is most marked in key creative class strongholds such as Manhattan, Boston and San Francisco, as well as their surrounding, super-affluent suburbs. The largesse benefits not only the traders, but the high-priced lawyers, accountants and publicists serving the financial elite. It has also benefited the high-end consumer industry, including the arts, which support much of the creative class. Not surpisingly, the Democrats scored well in these areas last night despite the GOP tide.
The creative class also has benefited from the lavish expenditures of public funds to major universities for research. This has lifted the prospects of the professoriate at the elite colleges from which Obama takes much of his advice. Finally the administration has rewarded its friends and funders among Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Once self-described paragons of entrepreneurial risk-taking, they increasingly search out government incentives and subsidies to pay for their large bets on renewable energy technology.
It sounds to me like the “creative class” might be better termed the “consumptive class”–Orwellian indeed.
Hat Tip to Dutch, Reformed
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