A few weeks ago, I went to a lunch organised by 10 Downing Street hosted by Mother. This was well attended by some important members of the arts, education and advertising industries and Kieran Kumaria one of the advisors to George Osbourne ran the session. He started by stating that Mr Osbourne was a great fan of Richard Florida.
Now, I was still a product design student in Canada when The Rise of the Creative Class was published but it was always on the wishlist. Right after the session I ran back to the office and ordered it online. I haven’t finished it yet, but was struck by a paragraph in the preface that sounded very familiar:
Meanwhile, the United States appears to have thrown its gearshift into reverse. At all levels of government and even in the private sector Americans have been cutting back crucial investment in creativity – in education, in research, in the arts and culture – while pouring billions in the low-return and no-return public projects like sports stadiums. In the zeal to ensure homeland security, the nation has placed tighter restrictions on immigration, foreign students and the flow of scientific information. If these trends continue, the U.S. may well squander its once-considerable lead. Consider this thought: The real threat to American security is not terrorism, it’s that creative and talented people may stop wanting to come here.
I suggest someone should get Mr Osbourne to actually read the book.