The Creative Economy
What is it that triggers economic growth? In the past, technological advances have fuelled economic growth. This allowed for the growth of cities in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries; the movement of economic activity away from the home, first into the factory, and then into the office; and it facilitated the development of a market based, cash economy.
With the evolution of the Western Economies from the Industrial Age into the Information Age, a further wave of technological development – the “Computer Revolution” – has changed the basic paradigm of economic production. The Internet has enabled us to move out of the office and back into the home. It is in the process of offering a de-monetised system of exchange, and it has helped facilitate the development of suburban communities.
If the paradigm has changed, then, we might ask, what is the key driver to economic growth? One answer is provided by Professor Richard Florida of Carnegie Mellon University. Professor Florida’s thesis is quite simple. We are in the process of moving from the Organisational Age to the Creative Age. The Knowledge Economy is a phenomenon of the Creative Age. In the Knowledge Economy, the key to wealth creation is the ability to enhance knowledge. Knowledge is enhanced by adding value to what is known already, and this occurs through a creative process. By augmenting knowledge creatively, those who undertake this process have added value to the existing stock of knowledge, and this wealth creation drives economic growth. Professor Florida names those who undertake this process the “Creative Class”.