LeBron James and the creative class

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Will

Will writes from Washington, D.C. (well, Arlington, Virginia). You can reach him at willblogcorrespondence at gmail dot com.

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29 Responses

  1. Man this is good Will. Before seeing your ** update I was about to ask if Joel Kotkin played the role of Mark Cuban and Richard Florida was Pat Riley in your analogy.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    Is it unambiguously right for someone that talented to leave the community who embraced him high-and-dry?

    Not at all. He’s obligated, out of loyalty, to stay there until the front office decides to trade him.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Is it unambiguously right for someone that talented to leave the community who embraced him high-and-dry?

    Do undocumented human beings who want nothing more than to build a better life for themselves and their families have the right to bring their talents to the US rather than trying to build houses back in their own crappy little countries?Report

  4. Avatar RTod
    Ignored
    says:

    “intent on mastering his chosen profession”

    Call this niggling, but I think one of the knocks on his choice was this is exactly what he chose NOT to do.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to RTod
      Ignored
      says:

      I started to read the piece by Florida, but gave up because it’s dumb.

      Can a larger market potentially land a top talent due to it’s size? Sure. Does that mean anything? No.

      Dallas didn’t win this year because of it’s size, or the je ne sais quoi of it’s population. Neither did LA two years prior, or Boston before that. They won for the same reasons organizations always win in competitive environments: they have better organizations with better management.

      Fo additional arguments, see: Clippers, Kicks, Nets, Sixers,and Warriors vs. Spurs, Suns, Thunder, Blazers and Thunder.Report

  5. Avatar Will Truman
    Ignored
    says:

    I substitute teach at the local school district of a town that is past its prime. There is a derogatory term in these parts about the people that live there. I was a bit surprised by how sharp and ambitious the kids I was sub-teaching were, asking myself “What happens to these kids on the way from this to becoming a [derogatory term].”

    It was not long before the answer came to me clear as day: They don’t change. They leave.Report

  6. Avatar J.L. Wall
    Ignored
    says:

    “Wouldn’t a less uniform, more geographically diffuse creative class be desirable for many of the same reasons?”

    Wendell Berry thought so, and left New York City for a farm in his hometown. I feel like “A Native Hill” is the essay that explores that… and which the line of thought this post explores reminded me of. I just never thought I’d be reminded of Berry by the NBA, let alone Lebron.Report

  7. Avatar Sam MacDonald
    Ignored
    says:

    “…the flight of the creative class from flyover country to the coasts.”

    I am not sure it’s always the creative class that flees. Take a place like Pittsburgh. Up until the 70s, it had scads of steel workers. The mills closed. That didn’t force the people teaching Gender Studies at Carnegie Mellon to flee. The STEEL WORKERS fled. Some stayed and went broke, sure. But generally, it’s not like the blue collar guys were sitting there watching as the lawyers and accountants packed up their bags.

    That’s why the city’s population plummeted.Report

    • Avatar RTod in reply to Sam MacDonald
      Ignored
      says:

      Yeah, I’m a little dubious about the creative class theory. I had not heard of it until today and so admittedly have not head his books, and so I wiki-ed it. I found that Florida argues that where the creative class goes so goes the wealth. Which sounds like a big deal observation until you find out who the creative class are:

      The “creative core,” or those jobs that are similar but not limited to “science, engineering, education, computer programming, research” or those that “create commercial products and consumer goods.”

      These, plus the “creative professionals,” which include most executive management, as well as “those working in healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector, and education.”

      Since when is it a new thing, or a big observation, to note that areas that have more of the above are more successful than those that have little or none of the above?Report

      • Avatar Mike at The Big Stick in reply to RTod
        Ignored
        says:

        Florida’s creative class has also created huge income gaps wherver they go with a small group at the top and a large service class far beneath them. See NYC and SF for good examples.

        His theories have also not explained the rise of cities like Houston.Report

        • You beat me to the Houston and Dallas counter-examples. If what he says is correct is indeed correct, Portland should be on the list and Houston should not. Which is not to say that he’s wrong, as obviously there are places that benefit from attracting young and educated people, but it also demonstrates that there’s more to the story.Report

          • Avatar Simon K in reply to Will Truman
            Ignored
            says:

            Except it doesn’t quite work for Portland. Yes, it has lots of SWPL and people who like it. But its also, by left coast standards, a cheap place to live. So while you can’t afford to live in SF unless you’re either fabulously wealthy or prepared to put up with an extremely poor standard of living by the standards of most of the country, its still possible for someone of moderate means to live well in Portland. It seems to be getting more full of SWPL so maybe its changing, but its still not SF.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Simon K
              Ignored
              says:

              That’s what I was trying to say. If attracting SWPLs was the path to success, Portland would be on the list. Instead, Houston and Dallas are on the list, despite being everything the Creative Class should hate. It turns out, the Creative Class is attracted to jobs and an affordable cost of living, in addition to the other stuff.Report

        • Avatar Simon K in reply to Mike at The Big Stick
          Ignored
          says:

          Houston is different because of space, presumably. You can keep packing the metropolitan area with “creative” types and still not really increase the price of anything because you can’t really push people out the way you can in the Bay Area or NYC.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to RTod
        Ignored
        says:

        The “creative class” argument is essentially a justification/rationalization for cities doing SWPL things: light rail, bike trails, smoking bans, higher density, and so on. It’s hardly novel, as you point out, but it’s a great way to turn an argument that’s really “I would prefer things this way” into “this is an investment that the city will financially benefit from.”

        This kind of assumes that the jobs follow the educated people. Which sometimes they do. But just as often, educated people follow the jobs, which is why Florida can’t seem to derive a formula that doesn’t have such anti-SWPL places as Houston and Dallas in the top ten.Report

        • Avatar RTod in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          That context helps, thanks.

          I have always thought “I would prefer things this way,” in regards to things like parks and bike trails, was a fine enough reason.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman
          Ignored
          says:

          Hmmm… Houston has light rail, a smoking ban, and an ever-increasing push for bike trails, and higher density residences are popping up pretty fast even as the housing market stagnates (and even if that sprawl remains out of control: sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small…). It seems weird to call Houston an anti-SWPL city. Dallas, maybe, but not Houston.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
            Ignored
            says:

            Houston got those things anemically or on the belated side. It is an example of the policies following the people instead of (as Florida would have it) the people following the policies. But Houston remains perceptually the prototypical city of concrete, sprawl, traffic, and pollution. Perhaps unfairly so, but that’s why I label it an anti-SWPL city. People who have never been there (and some who have, like BlaiseP) assume a pretty great degree of cultural degradation.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman
              Ignored
              says:

              Oh I hate Houston, for all the reasons you mention. Light rail looks nice, but Houston still has the worst traffic I’ve ever seen. And you’re in Houston an hour before you are in Houston, ’cause of the damn sprawl.

              But Houston is a pretty SWPL-friendly city these days, and is becoming more of one. And it’s becoming one largely because, while there are a lot of “creative class” types already there, for various reasons (not the least of which is the Texas education system), it still has to import a lot of its brain talent, so it has to become more and more SWPL-friendly to keep bringing them in.

              Strangely, Austin, which is not SWPL, it is SWPL, can’t get light rail to save its life. It does have the smoking ban, bike trails, and a huge push for increased population density in the downtown area.Report

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