Archive for August, 2007

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Aug 31st 2007 at 9:40am UTC

Bullies at Work

Friday, August 31st, 2007

According to a new Zogby poll:

Half of working Americans (49%) have suffered or witnessed workplace
bullying — including verbal abuse, job sabotage, abuse of authority or
destruction of workplace relationships, according to a new Workplace
Bullying Institute/Zogby Interactive survey.

The study is here.

When I was a teenager in New Jersey, I took a summer job in a machine tool shop.  My job was cleaning the grease and metal chips off the floor, walls and machines. By days end, we were covered head to toe with grease and chips: Try scrubbing grease filled metal chips off your face sometime (ouch).  It was a rough place.  The machinists drank beer every break and smoked weed back out behind the factory. Fights were common. One day one of my high-school age peers, about 16 years old, was cleaning up around a machine and one of the machinists just hauled off and slugged him in the face, blood spewing everywhere. He broke his nose. I thought it was an isolated incident. I guess not.

For some insight into the reality of factory life, check out Ben Hamper’s phenomenal Rivethead: Tales from the Assembly Line.

The Zogby study is disturbing showing how prevalent workplace bullying is: It is impossible for people to be creative in this kind of work environment.

Has this happened to you?

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Aug 30th 2007 at 5:28pm UTC

A Nation of Immigrants

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Charles Hirschman provides a solid history of immigration’s impact on American society.Click here to download.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Aug 30th 2007 at 1:24pm UTC

Different Firm Productivity

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

So, where does all that different firm productivity come from?  Why, from technology of course.  (It is the "canned" answer, but it does explain at least part of the difference.)  Both, me and my dissertation would argue that other innovations, including management skill, also plays an important role.

However, Stuart Elliot of the National Research Council’s Center for Education offers an interesting take on where the application of all this new technology is going to lead us….

To the displacement (nice way to say elimination) of 60% (yep, SIX-OH percent) of the current U.S. workforce (or at least the jobs they are doing).  In Projecting the Impact of Computers on Work in 2030, Elliot organized data on 93 of the 96 groups of occupations used in the Department of Labor’s Standard Occupational Classification system (information was not available for military-specific occupations). For each of these occupational groups, values were then provided on a seven-point scale for four types of skills: language, reasoning, vision and movement.

Using information about current artificial intelligence research and postulating on the exponential increase of computational processing power in the future, Elliot paints a picture of the functionality of computers in language, reasoning, vision and movement skills by 2030. As computers are able to complete certain tasks faster and more cheaply than humans, those tasks may shift from human performance to computer performance. For example, the study predicts that 90 percent of current office and administrative support occupations will be displaced by technology in this period. But not all occupations are expected to fair the same. Legal occupations, including lawyers, are only predicted to see 6 percent of their jobs displaced.

posted by Kevin Stolarick

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Aug 30th 2007 at 10:24am UTC

Inequality and Productivity

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

Does the growing disparity in productivity rates of firms play a role in growing inequality? This study says yes (pointer via Tyler Cowen). Charlotta Mellander and I have been studying the disjuncture between wages and income and their relation to human capital levels and creative occupations in our work on Sweden and the United States. This adds a new wrinkle to that conversation.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Aug 29th 2007 at 6:00am UTC

Canadian versus American Real Estate

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

The Toronto Real Estate Blog puts it this way:

The market across Canada is hot-hot-hot, according to the Toronto Real Estate Blog. It quotes one real estate expert as saying, a “fiasco” like the US housing market can’t happen, “because there is no sub-prime lending market here.”

The full story is here, along with a related story on the white-hot market in Toronto.

What could account for such dramatically divergent patterns?

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Aug 28th 2007 at 6:30am UTC

Cool Older Brother or Crazy Drunk Uncle?

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

David Vickery writes:

So in a period of just six years America has transformed itself in the
eyes of the creative class from the cool older brother who could
initiate you into what is new and exciting to the crazy drunk uncle,
who you have to humor in order to minimize the damage he might cause.

The rest is here. Do you agree or disagree?

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Aug 28th 2007 at 6:00am UTC

The Prosperity Institute

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

If you’ve been wondering what brought us to Toronto…

Last Tuesday, there was an event at the Rotman School to announce our new Prosperity Institute.  The Institute was spearheaded by the vision of Rotman Dean, Roger Martin, and underwritten with a generous $50 million gift from Premier Dalton McGuinty and the Province of Ontario, and a $10 million gift from Joe and Sandy Rotman. Additional fund-raising of an additional $50 million is underway I’ll head the Institute with Kevin Stolarick as Associate Director.  Our goal is to make it the world’s premier think-tank on place and prosperity.

Here’s a story on the Institute’s launch event Tuesday night. More – much, much more – to come.

We’d very much appreciate your thoughts on what might be the most novel and pressing areas for research, data development and projects?

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Aug 27th 2007 at 9:36am UTC

Consumer City

Monday, August 27th, 2007


Graham Bowley writes:

Cities may also be growing because individuals as consumers want to
live there. In a discussion paper titled “Consumer City,” Glaeser and
co-authors Jed Kolko and Albert Saiz call this “the demand for
density.” People now want to live in dense areas because dense areas
offer what people want to consume – opera, sports teams, art museums,
varied cuisine. In France, for example, he and his fellow researchers
found a robust correlation between the number of restaurants and the
growth of cities.

The full story is here (pointer via Wendy Waters who has a bunch of great posts over at All About Cities).

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Aug 27th 2007 at 9:28am UTC

Homeownership and Economic Growth

Monday, August 27th, 2007

The conventional wisdom says homeownership is a growth spur. This was especially the case in the fordist mass production economy, where long-term employment was the rule for many and home-buying prompted purchases of automobiles, appliances and consumer durables.

Now, maybe not so much. That is, according to new analysis by Joe Cortright which suggests that homeownership may actually dampen economic performance in this highly mobile creative age.

More here (via CEOs for Cities.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon Aug 27th 2007 at 8:48am UTC

What Goes Around…

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Bill Fulton writes:

So I’ve finally had it with Joel Kotkin. …Increasingly, it seems that the only thing we
can count on him for – in newspaper op-eds, anyway – is to disagree
with the conventional wisdom, no matter what it is. In fact, as time
goes on, Kotkin – ever the contrarian – seems to spend more and more
time disagreeing with planners and commentators who mostly agree with

It’s a very thoughtful post and stays completely clear of any Kotkin-Florida debate issues, except perhaps indirectly.

The full story is here (pointer via Planetizen).