Sunday, 5 December 2004

What will her future be? - A Second Look

In a previous post What will her future be?, I thought all repetitive work and production of physical goods (and some digital goods) will be out-sourced to developing or under-developed countries. Because of the huge difference of living standards, there will be a continuous supply of low level skilled labour (and some sophistic skills as well) from these countries. On the other hand, we also know that our own life expectancy is increasing. Our kids need very high value jobs in order to maintain the living standards they are brought up with. My question was "what kind of jobs will be available in 2020" and how should I prepare my daughter to face this unknown future.

At that time, my suggestion was that only service industry will be left - but this will not provide the value production to sustain the living standards of the current developed countries. My search continues until...

I heard a presentation from IT conversation by Richard Florida on The Rise of the Creative Class.

We're in the midst of a fundamental economic revolution, bigger than the change from an agricultural to an industrial society. It's based on creativity including technological, economic and aesthetic creativity.

The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life by Richard Florida:

... the rise of a new social class that he labels the creative class. Members include scientists, engineers, architects, educators, writers, artists, and entertainers. He defines this class as those whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology, and new creative content. In general this group shares common characteristics, such as creativity, individuality, diversity, and merit. The author estimates that this group has 38 million members, constitutes more than 30 percent of the U.S. workforce, and profoundly influences work and lifestyle issues.

From a book review by P. Lozar "plozar" on

Richard Florida's study began with a rather straightforward premise: what characterizes the cities and regions that are economically successful today? His conclusions are rather controversial, but, based on the statistical evidence he presents (as well as my own experience), I found them highly convincing.

The liveliest economies, he finds, are in regions characterized by the 3 T's -- talent, technology, and tolerance. The implications are profound, to wit:

1. Conventional wisdom holds that, to boost an area's economy, it's necessary to attract large companies and thus create jobs. In fact, companies locate where the talent is; all the tax breaks in the world won't bring a large company to your area if they can't find the quality of employees they want there. Often, too, the talent itself will generate new companies and create jobs that way.

2. Urban planners assume that, to attract talent/jobs, what's important is to provide infrastructure: sports stadiums, freeways, shopping centers, etc. In fact, creative people prefer authenticity -- so making your city just like everyplace else is a sure way to kill its attractiveness.

3. The often-misunderstood "gay index" doesn't mean that gay people are more creative, or that attracting gays to a community will ipso facto boost its economy. Creative people tend to prefer gay-friendly communities because they're perceived as tolerant of anyone who isn't "mainstream"; a city that's run by a conservative good-ole-boys network isn't a good place to try to start a business unless you're one of the good ole boys.

Richard Florida looked at the problem from an American angle and provided advice to government. My interest in more about how we should prepare our kids. If he is right, I now have a direction to look for the kind of attitudes and qualities which I can help my daughter to develop.

Here are some books on the subject by Richard Florida on Amazon for your convenience:


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.