March 11, 2014

The world is flat — or so Tom Friedman says.

In his now infamous 2005 book, the New York Times columnist looks to the future, and sees a world — and an economic system -- that has opened up to billions of people thanks to advances in technology. Because of laptops, tablets, and an increasingly wired world, students and entrepreneurs across the globe can be more productive, and get their work to clients and collaborators – FAST.

All of which enables more uploading, outsourcing, and supply-chaining. 

Fast-forward to the world of today, where some of the most successful and consequential companies in America are the Googles and the Facebooks.

But instead of flattening out, we've seen rising income inequality, and people being priced out of cities like New York and San Francisco.

"I think a cornerstone of the knowledge economy, or the creative economy," argues Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, "is that in contrast to what Tom Friedman has noted — he says the world is flat, we're flattening out all these divisions - in fact the creative economy is what I call 'highly spiky.'"

What's he mean?

All those workers with jobs that require skills, education, and creativity — they're clustering in a few select cities. And those concentrations are driving up the cost of living to astronomical levels.

So what do you think – does innovation "flatten out" or "spike up"?

Thomas Friedman, technology, Business, Culture, jobs, Richard Florida, creative economy, public radio

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