Repost-From Thirty Two Via Althouse: ‘The Fall Of The Creative Class’

Full piece here.

Thirty Two is a Minneapolis based publication, where our author ended up after looking for “the creative class,” which has to do with Richard Florida’s economic theory:

‘When I asked if he could show me a city that had had mea­sur­able eco­nomic growth as a result of an influx of cre­ative indi­vid­u­als, Florida said there was “wide con­sen­sus” that migra­tion of cre­ative indi­vid­u­als had taken place, and named some places like Wash­ing­ton DC, greater Boston, greater NY, and greater San Francisco.’

Putting the cart before the horse?  Here’s a previous quote from Florida:

“I grew up in that culture. My father worked his entire life in a factory. I spent my high-school summers doing factory work. Sexism and racism ran rampant. Fights were almost every day occurrences: Working class disagreements almost always end in them.”

A creative, non-sexist, non-racist, non-classist future awaits.  Be liberated!  There will be lots of community gardens and bike paths, I imagine.  Williamsburg doesn’t need Wall Street!

Many artist-types, the bookish, the literary, the ‘creative class’ post-moderns and hipsters, along with the increasingly tech/science-inspired cultural influencers, naturally want certain cultural amenities and opportunities.  Naturally, they’re going  to pay for these amenities, and they’re going to find their ideas have limitations when it comes to economic scarcity, human nature, politics, and life in the city.  It’s about trade-offs.

The blurred line where the arts, humanities, and the ‘creative class’ are meeting conservative/libertarian traditions and political philosophy in contemporary American life has become a strongly recurring theme on this blog. 

Related On This Site:  Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

It’s the 60’s, don’t you know.  The Arts can also be united with a Left-of-Center political philosophy as they are at NPR for popular consumption…after going mainstream.  On this site, see: From ReasonTV Via Youtube: ‘Ken Burns on PBS Funding, Being a “Yellow-Dog Democrat,” & Missing Walter Cronkite’Repost-From NPR: Grants To The NEA To Stimulate The Economy?

Well, art doesn’t need to be in service of a socialist vision, but it can:  Via Reason: ‘Salvador Allende’s Cybersocialist Command Center’

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What if you’re economy’s already depressed?  Don’t make a maze of laws and build stadiums and museums on the public dime…get new industry: From Reason: ‘Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey’…Reason also suggests that if such creative/entrepenurial spirit gets off the ground, it will have to get around the public sector in Detroit.  From Reason Via Youtube: ‘Is Harrisburg’s Nightmare America’s Future?’

 
Is the same definition of ‘community’ connected with one that can stifle economic growth through political means?: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?
 
 
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Update And Repost-Mark Cuban From His Blog: ‘The Coming Meltdown in College Education & Why The Economy Won’t Get Better Any Time Soon’

Full post here.

‘Its far too easy to borrow money for college.  Did you know that there is more outstanding debt for student loans than there is for Auto Loans or Credit Card loans ? Thats right. The 37mm holders of student loans have more debt than the 175mm or so credit card owners in this country and more than the all of the debt on cars in this country. While the average student loan debt is about 23k. The median is close to $12,500. And growing. Past 1 TRILLION DOLLARS.’

Perhaps there won’t be a meltdown, but current debt levels probably can’t be sustained.  Technology, global competition and various other factors are putting pressure on higher education in the U.S, and forcing it to change.

It still seems as though a promise and a wish this past century we Americans have had for ourselves has been extended as far as it will go (education and opportunity for all).  There are a lot of people whose livelihood depends upon keeping things the way they are.

Also…

As Clayton Christensen argues in the startupgrind video below, universities have competed together to move upmarket, with rock walls, high-end facilities, and more and more amenities.  All the while, they’ve been getting heavier on management and administration.  Christensen suggests that newer business models are utilizing technology at their core, and training people on the job for specific skills.  This is seriously undercutting the old university model.

I find myself thinking of this misalignment (straying from the core educational mission, overpromising, the end of an era?) when I see splashy diversity-laden brochure photos, and huge athletic programs hyped as the faces of university life.  Costs keep going up and the value of many degrees keeps going down.

Perhaps there is a correlation with other overall trends in our society to run museums like businesses, the competition between the private and public sectors,  the growth of the ‘meritocracy’ and Washington D.C. and our continually growing government as well.  Perhaps I’m overhyping it myself, but the ‘greatness’ model is under serious stress.

Will half of universities be in bankruptcy in a few decades?  How much will technology disrupt education?

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Interesting times.  What have venture capitalists got right, and what might they be missing?

What has really changed regarding human nature?

Related On This Site: Should you get a college degree?:  Gene Expression On Charles Murray: Does College Really Pay Off?…Charles Murray In The New Criterion: The Age Of Educational Romanticism

The libertarian angle, getting smart, ambitious people off of the degree treadmill:  From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’ I think it’s going too far, trying to apply libertarian economics onto education, but Milton Friedman on Education is thought-provoking.

A deeper look at what education “ought” to be A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

Nothing that Allan Bloom didn’t point out in the Closing Of The American Mind, at least with regard to a true liberal arts education: Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’

Perhaps some of the problem is due to the ideological interests holing up at our universities; at least in the liberal arts: Repost-Revisting Larry Summers: What Did He Say Again?From The Harvard Educational Review-

From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘The MPS in the Galapagos (14): The Evolution of Religious Belief ‘

Full post here.

As always, worth a read.  Do we make the moral laws, or do the moral laws make us?  Does Darwinian thought support conservatism?:

‘While wondering why Hayek’s writing shows so little overt discussion of religion, Father Sirico argued that Hayek’s understanding of social order as emerging best through spontaneous evolution is applicable to the evolution of religious belief.  He made three points in support of this claim.

First, he noted how often Hayek cited religious thinkers like Lord Acton and the late scholastics of the middle ages, who supported the idea of social order as the “result of human action but not of human design.”

Second, Father Sirico argued that Hayek’s condemnation of rationalist constructivism and scientism could apply to the rationalism of the “New Atheists,” who try to dispose of all inherited religious beliefs and then reconstruct all our beliefs as personal constructions of reason.

Third, he argued that Hayek’s account of how social order arises from a gradual evolutionary development could also apply to the development of religious doctrine.  The doctrines of Christianity arose through many centuries of experience as an evolutionary process of adaptation and refinement.  He found this best expressed in some of the writing of John Henry Newman’

On that second note of morality being derived from rationalist constructivism and scientism, this blog is still seeking forms of ‘classical’ liberalism in good faith, or a liberalism which runs on consent and which tolerates dissent, a liberalism which supports broad definitions of free speech and recognizes deep disagreement in the public square.  Is Isaiah Berlin’s value-pluralism an option?:  On this site, seeA Few Thoughts On Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts Of Liberty” …

In the political realm, seeking equality as an ideal, for example, and equality of outcome, rather than equality under the law, seems to get the incentives wrong, invites the mediocre to power, and misses the boat on human nature and the wisdom of constrained institutions.   It seems wise to ask:

“Freedom from what, and freedom to what end?”

“Do I support coercion in order to reach my desired outcome, ideal, or vision of the good society?”

“How are my commitments working out in practice?”

Hayekian thought may offer options to allow moral judgment, moral thinking, and even religious moral thinking to not necessarily be crowded out of the public square in favor of progressive Statism, eliminative materialism, and rationalist public policy.

Copied from Will Wilkinson’s piece on Gerry Gaus’s new book:

‘In sum, OPR defends public reason liberalism without contractarian foundations. It is Kantian without being rationalistic. It is Humean without giving up the project of rationally reforming the moral order. It is evolutionary but not social Darwinist. It is classical liberal without being libertarian. It is Hegelian and organicist without being collectivist or statist. It shows us how political authority can be justified but only by accepting that moral authority limits it. It pushes us to look towards the practical and reject the utopian while simultaneously maintaining that a truly free and equal social order is within our grasp. It rejects the aspiration of political liberalism to neutrality among conceptions of morality while simultaneously retaining its spirit by sectioning off social morality from other normative domains.’

I tend towards skepticism when the idea of a free and equal society is raised.  Food for thought.

Addition:  Ideals of freedom and equality unconstrained, but I’m certainly open to new ideas.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This SiteA Few Quotations From F.A. Hayek’s: ‘Why I Am Not A Conservative’ 

The Chicago School:  Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……From The American Spectator: ‘Sowell, Race Hustlers, and David Hume’

Hitchens has crafted a path out of socialism…to a sort of American neo-conservatism and new Atheism…out of materialism and attacks on Mother Teresa but a sustained attack on faith from reason: Isn’t virtue attached to reason part of the problem of materialism, and isn’t that a deeper problem?:  Via Youtube: Christopher Hitchens On Faith And Virtue

People on the modern American right take issue with Rawls, but have they addressed his depth?:  From The American Conservative: Going Off The Rawls–David Gordon On John Rawls…Utilitarianism leads to problems.  Will the Rawlsian center-left hold up?:Repost: From the Cambridge Companion To Plato-T.H. Irwin’s “Plato: The intellectual Background’

Peter Singer discusses Hegel and Marx

Walter Russell Mead seems to be envisioning a reinvigorated liberalism 5.0, arguing that 60′s progressivism and 40-50′s conservatism (American politics more generally) are behind the times.   There’s been a fundamental shift that we must adjust to, and it involves technology and globalization for starters.

Robert Nozick merged elements of Kant and Locke in a strong, libertarian defense of the individual A Few Thoughts On Robert Nozick’s “Anarchy, State and Utopia”From Slate: ‘The Liberty Scam-Why Even Robert Nozick, The Philosophical Father Of Libertarianism, Gave Up On The Movement He Inspired.’

Anarcho-capitalism:  Pro-market, anti-state, anti-war…paleo-libertarian: Link To Lew Rockwell Via A Reader…Anarcho-syndicalist, libertarian socialist and sometime blind supporter of lefty causes:  Via Youtube: (1 of 3) Kant, Chomsky and the Problem of KnowledgeTwo Sunday Quotations By Albert Jay Nock in ‘Anarchist’s Progress’

Catholic libertarianism: Youtube Via Reason TV-Judge Napolitano ‘Why Taxation is Theft, Abortion is Murder, & Government is Dangerous’Link To An Ayn Rand Paper: The Objectivist Attack On Kant

Roger Kimball At Arma Virumque: ‘Kenneth Minogue 1930-2013′William F. Buckley And Kenneth Minogue Discuss Ideology

From Darwinian Conservatism: ‘Nietzsche–Aristocratic Radical or Aristocratic Liberal?’…Here’s Nietzsche scholar J.P. Stern on Nietzsche’s anti-Christian, anti-secular morality (Kant, utilitarians), anti-democratic, and anti-Greek (except the “heroic” Greek) biases……

Leon Wieseltier At The New Republic: ‘A Darwinist Mob Goes After a Serious Philosopher’

Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’

The neo-classicism of Leo Strauss and the reason/revelation distinction  Update And Repost- From YouTube: Leo Strauss On The Meno-More On The Fact/Value Distinction?’Harvey Mansfield At Defining Ideas: ‘Democracy Without Politics?’

From The Becker-Posner Blog: ‘Why Is Hollywood Dominated By Liberals?’

Full post here.

Interesting quote:

“What troubles conservatives about Hollywood is less the promotion in movies of left-liberal policies than the breakdown of the old taboos.”

Good art tends to have trouble with politics. political ideologies, religion, religious doctrine, and can even challenge/subvert moral thinking and moral authority.  In Hollywood, the creative imagination of one writer/artist is often molded by hundreds of people working on a project that is often aimed at millions of people.  It can be quite interesting to see how the sausage is made, and even the old studio system appears to be having a lot of trouble this summer in keeping up with the new technology.

The creative arts, from acting to dance to theater, tend to attract people who had trouble with the ‘old taboos.’  L.A. and coastal California also generally tend to have a rather liberal/Left-Of-Center culture, which can affect the people who move there.

So, how much influence does Hollywood really have on culture, and thus politics, and thus people who seek to influence culture and politics?

From Gary Becker’s response:

‘Since it is well established that political views are greatly affected by the attitudes of people one interacts with closely, it is not surprising that some of the liberality of the media rub off on actors and others in the filmmaking industry. In addition to their concern about political approaches to personal morality, their association with the media helps make filmmakers anti-business, especially big business, and strongly pro-union.’

and:

‘So all in all, I believe Hollywood is a very minor contributor to general political views, but I do not think their influence can be fully dismissed.’

I’m not sure myself if such a thing can be known, but I remain wary of those seeking such influence for its own sake.

More culture wars?

If you don’t like ‘They Live,’ like a shining beacon of freedom in the fog, you can always turn to the day the Cubans and Russians invaded a small Colorado town…:

Who really looks to Hollywood for all their questions and answers?

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From Urbanophile: ‘What Detroit’s Bankruptcy Teaches America’

Full post here.

Interesting read:

‘The last thing Detroit teaches us is that America too often doesn’t learn from its mistakes.  Detroit’s troubles have been evident for quite some time, yet it’s hard to see that many other post industrial cities have managed to carve out a different path.  Rather, they pretended that Detroit’s fall was somehow unique due to its auto industry dependence – and managed to ignore other failed cities as well – while embarking on the same turnaround strategy via conventional wisdom and silver bullets.’

The broader principle is that we’ll likely need some kind of renewal in ourselves, in technology, and perhaps in industry again if we want genuine growth and optimism.  The pie needs to be growing.

You don’t need a new $450 million hockey stadium when you can’t provide basic services.

Alas, Detroit:

Related On This SiteRepost: ‘A Short Culture Wars Essay-Two Links On Detroit & ‘Ruin Porn’ 

What about the popular arts and culture?:Update And Repost-From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’…A Few Thoughts And A Tuesday Poem By Philip Levine

GM is not a municipality, but good money got put in, probably after bad and it reeks of politics: From The Detroit News: ‘How The Treasury, GM Stock Deal Got Done’

Repost-‘From Stanley Fish At The NY Times Blog: What Should Colleges Teach?’

Full post here.

Fish reminds us of a simple idea:  college writing courses ought to focus primarily on writing…:

“…the students spent much of their time discussing novels, movies, TV shows and essays on a variety of hot-button issues — racism, sexism, immigration, globalization.

Perhaps at the cost of their writing skills.  Yet, is Fish just going after the easy targets (where political and ideological aims often take precedence) in quoting the ACTA report?:

“Thirty-five years ago there was no such thing as a gay and lesbian studies program; now you can build a major around it. For some this development is a sign that a brave new world has arrived; for others it marks the beginning of the end of civilization.”

“It probably is neither; curricular alternatives are just not that world-shaking.”

Perhaps not.  He highlights what he seems to consider the most insightful bit of wisdom the report (with its own aims) has to offer:

“An “important benefit of a coherent core curriculum is its ability to foster a ‘common conversation’ among students, connecting them more closely with faculty and with each other.”

Perish the thought.  People are texting, typing, writing code, and there is a lot of creativity going on the design side of software right now, which is, at the very least, providing a vessel for good writing.

Will you watch a 1 hr. 30 minute video?  Probably not, but I think it offers ideas on how we decide what’s important to read, to think about, and which ideas to pass along.  In it,  Terry Eagleton, Marxist, is debating Roger Scruton, a British philosopher focusing on aesthetics and the humanities, and generally conservative:  What do British universities keep, and what do they leave behind?  What is culture, and what should one read, think, and feel in order to pass that culture on?:

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This blog’s theory (take it, leave it, critique it) is that American culture since the rise of the 1960’s has been deeply influenced by certain strains of Continental philosophy and thought, perhaps more so than previously, and that it’s been spilling out into the culture and our politics.

Addition:  Of course, as Camille Paglia points out, movies, T.V., popular music etc. arguably is the culture for a great many Americans.  Fish also feels the need to defend his justification of writing in the post.

Another Addition:  Fish responds to his critics.  If we were all held to such standards in our writing…

See Also On This Site:  Conservative Briton Roger Scruton suggests keeping political and aesthetic judgments apart in the humanities: Roger Scruton In The American Spectator Via A & L Daily: Farewell To Judgment

Fish suggested keeping politics out of academia during the Ward Churchill affair:  From The Stanley Fish Blog: Ward Churchill Redux

Martha Nussbaum tried to tackle the humanities problem a while back: From The Harvard Educational Review-A Review Of Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education.’

From Joel Kotkin-‘The Truce That Could Save American Cities’ And A Few Thoughts

Full post here.

First, on a bit of a tangent:

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is notably free-enterprise, having created a very successful business model and highly profitable chain of grocery stores.  Is he simply a particularly savvy businessman, having married 60’s idealism with free-market principles?  Is he a particularly savvy businessman whose secret is tapping into the deep impulse his employees have for meaning, group-membership, identity, and purpose which they find through organic produce, mild collectivism, and healthy living?

Mackey, Milton Friedman, and Cypress Semiconductors’ T.J. Rodgers have a debate about free-market principles here at Reason: ‘Rethinking the Social Responsibility Of Business.’   Worth a read as Rodgers and Mackey have a back and forth.

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Culturally, we can see similar changes in our cities as well.  It’s easy to mock the Stuff-White-People Like-Crowd, the post-beat, post-hippie hipsters, environmentalists, postmoderns, true-believing multiculturalists, new urbanists and collectivists of all stripes.   I suspect this is partly why the NY Times reads the way it reads to me nowadays, and why Kotkin, writing from L.A. is so familiar with this dynamic.

Kotkin:

‘In the coming years count on the emergence of an increasingly dire conflict between urban boosters — who long for everything from improved schools to more bike lanes and better transit — and their traditional allies among the public-sector workforce. Essentially this will be not so much a war between conservatives and free-spending liberals, but what Walter Russell Mead has described as “blue on blue” conflict’

People tend to fight more over the less there is.  It will be worth watching to see if/how the blue-collar, public-sector Democratic base and gentry liberals keep it together.  It will also be interesting to see if the Obama youth vote stays together once the true costs of Obamacare are revealed.  As I’ve heard it described, it feels like 1968 now, with the old Civil Rights crowd in charge of our national politics for a few more years.

It will also be worth watching to see how rural, social, and religious conservatives interact with Washington, and how much steam the Tea Party has, and whether or not the libertarian/civil liberties push will interact with mainstream Republicanism.

Related On This Site: From Via Media: ‘Detroit’s Failure and the Blue Model’s Shame’

Why Do People Move To Cities? From Falkenblog: ‘The Perennial Urban Allure’

David Sloan Wilson At The Huffington Post: Atheism As a Stealth Religion

Jerry Pournelle’s chart with statism is on the -x-axis, and rationalism on the -y-.  Reason enthroned hasn’t exactly worked out so well.

Recently, British thinker Alain De Botton floated the idea of building an ‘atheist temple’ in the heart of London.  He recommends combing through religious practices for useful organizing principles in response to the New Atheists.  You can read more about it here, which includes a radio interview/podcast.

A postmodernist temple without the materialist core?  The Rothko chapel, in Houston, Texas.

Are there two kinds of cities forming?   Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’