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The Rise Of The Creative Class

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The book The Rise of the Creative Class introduces a new social class to us - the Creative Class - which has greatly increased since 1950s and is still booming today. According to Richard Florida, the author of the book, the Creative Class has deeply influenced the ways we work and leisure, our values and desires, our communities and everyday life. The great changes between 1900-to-1950s are driven by technology improvement such as the popularization of TV, video, and washing machine; while the tremendous changes between 1950-to-today are the dizzying social cultural changes that are driven by the booming of the Creative Class. The purpose of this book is to describe the Creative Ethos of our society which is the most important force behind the shift, and to illustrate how this admire of creativity has shaped the Creative Class and has transformed their work style, life style, community and everyday life.

The emergence of the Creative Class is the result of New Economy's demand for creativity. Today's economy is fundamentally a Creative Economy: big competitive advantages of products are derived from new designs or new accessories; new inventions are created to flourish business market; new management norms are applied to adapt this new economy. However, creativity is "not something that can be kept in a box and trotted out when one arrives at the office" (Florida, 2002). Creativity must be cultivated and motivated under appropriate social atmosphere, and nurtured by employers, by people themselves and by the communities where they locate. For the sake of this demand, the creative ethos prevails in our society and has become the behind force to reshape our social structure.

The Creative Class is used by the author to define people who add economic value through their creativity. It includes a good many knowledge workers, symbolic analysts and professional and technical workers. It is defined as an economic class; however, the economic function also determines its members' social, cultural and lifestyle preference. The core of this class includes "scientists and engineers, university professors, poets and novelists, artists, entertainers, actors, designers and architects, as well as the thought leadership of modern society: nonfiction writers, editors, cultural figures, think-tank researchers, analysts and other opinion makers" (Florida, 2002). Contrast to this new class are the Working Class who work in manufacturing, construction and transportation industries, and the Service Class which includes fields such as personal care, food service and clerical work; both are primarily paid to execute according to plan. The tremendous social changes between 1950-to-today are on account of the rise of the Creative Class which contains 30 million workers today. It is the "norm-setting" class of our time and is dominant in wealth and income; its members earn nearly twice as much on average as members of the other two classes.

Work style and workplace of the Creative Class have greatly changed. Firstly, creativity is mainly driven by intrinsic rewards, so the working satisfaction of the Creative Class is associated with many factors which can not be bought by money: challenge and responsibility, flexibility, a stable work environment and a relatively secure job, compensation, professional development, peer recognition, stimulating colleagues and managers, exciting job content, organizational culture, and location and community. Secondly, creativity is held by diversiform people; it can be provided by all colors and genders. So hiring for diversity is common today. Thirdly, the horizon labor market has substituted climbing the corporate ladder. People today prefer to pursue their careers horizontally rather than vertically, and they shift from job to job for a lot of different motivations. People identify themselves more on the occupation or profession than the company they work for. The Creative Class abandons security to pursue autonomy and freedom, and works on interesting projects which are better to stimulate their creativity. Fourthly, dress code and workplace are more flexible and comfortable today. Office workers dress casual as they pleased. They dress to express their unique, as artists or scientists, and dress simply and practically so as to focus on the serious creative work at hand. They have flexible schedules which are more suitable for creative people. The workplace is sometimes as comfortable as home or even more appealing. Lastly, being aware that creative workers are not primarily driven by salaries, smart companies have adopted "soft control" as an emotional manage tool. Challenge and peer recognition are the most effective motives for the Creative Class.

Lifestyle and leisure activities of the Creative Class are also immensely different from those of people in the first half of the twentieth century. Firstly, the Creative Class lifestyle is a creative life full of intense, high-quality, multidimensional experiences. These experiences are reflect and reinforcement of their identities as creative people. In the past, people identify themselves by several basic social features: occupation, employer and family status. Today, people identify themselves through a mix of creative activities. One person may be a writer, and simultaneously a researcher, consultant, rock climber, or jazz lover. Additionally, people fill every second with intensive creative stimuli and experiences, either at work or at leisure. The Creative Class prefers active leisure activities and outdoor exercises to passive leisure activities and always participates in several different activities at the same time to acquire more entertainment. Secondly, Young people now often work hard at early ages and develop their creativity when their physical energy is at a peak. The obligation for marriage and children are deferred. Thirdly, with midlife career changing, from employer to employee, from officer worker to university professor, the lifestyle of people is also changing. Changing is an important feature of the Creative Class lifestyle. The terms "quarter-life" and "three-quarter-life" are cited to describe the phenomenon that people of all ages continue to seek new outlets for their creative capacities.

What kind of community will be fond by the Creative Class? Different from traditional choices of living places where employment is available, the choice of the Creative Class of community is determined by several factors prior to employment: thick labor markets, lifestyle, social interaction, diversity, authenticity, and identity. First, creative people are not looking for a single job, but for many employment opportunities; they do not expect to stay with the same company for very long, but expect to be close to a thick labor market which can facilitate a horizontal career patch.



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