The so-called creative class has made it more difficult for the creators of culture—artists and thinkers who depend on leisure time—to produce work that reminds the country of its values, purpose, and potential.

Sacrifice and hardship has always accompanied the lives of those who dedicate themselves to making works of art, but a new level of unsustainability has resulted from the explosion of concentrated wealth, argues Scott Timberg, author of the book "The Killing of the Creative Class."

The term "creative class" was coined by the sociologist Richard Florida, whose broad definition classified anyone on the educated side of the labor force as a creative individual. To be sure, that is true, but perhaps trivially so, says Timberg.

Thinking up creative new ways to package and sell financial products to a hedge fund isn't the same as writing a song that speaks to the culture or performing theatre that reminds us of essential values.

"I think it's important we not reduce art to just its market value... A disease of neoliberalism is people saying everything is inevitable: 'Income inequality is so stark but oh well, globalization!' There's this idea that artists are magicians and don't need things like medical support."

David Byrne has publicly complained about the corporatization of New York City while his detractors label him nostalgic and accuse his generation of "not getting out very often." Byrne came up in the glory days, so-called, when Patti Smith worked at a bookshop and budding musicians could make a living at record shops.

In his Big Think interview, Richard Florida explains what he means by creativity and how it is a path toward dependable employment in the new economy:


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