Archive for the ‘Tolerance’ Category

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Apr 20th 2011 at 10:00am UTC

Immigrants and the Wealth of Nations

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Whether they see immigration as a good thing or a scourge, Americans like to think of their country as an immigrant-friendly place, with borders that are among the most open in the world.

But that’s not the case, according to a new comprehensive measure developed by the British Council and the Brussels-based Migration Policy Group. The Migration Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) rates the EU nations’ (plus Norway, Switzerland, Canada, and the U.S.—31 countries in all) efforts to integrate immigrants according to 148 policy indicators, which range from opportunities for education and political participation to levels of protection against discrimination, from prospects for reuniting with family to the likelihood of achieving permanent residence status and citizenship.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Mar 4th 2011 at 7:30am UTC

The Revolt of the Creative Class

Friday, March 4th, 2011

Some have already taken to calling the events in the Middle East “the Arab 1848.” Future generations, perhaps, will talk about the “spirit of 2011” when the ground begins to crumble beneath their own autocracies.

But are the same factors at work today as they were in past revolutionary surges? Some are undoubtedly similar – throngs of disgruntled people have taken to the streets, questing for freedom and economic opportunity.  Others, like the use of social media from YouTube to Facebook and Twitter, are undoubtedly new and different.  Do the unfolding events of 2011 fit with our existing understanding of revolution or might they warrant updating?


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Fri Jan 14th 2011 at 12:00pm UTC

The Geography of Gun Deaths

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Terrible tragedies like last week’s mass shootings in Tucson cause us to search for deeper answers. Many were quick to blame America’s divisive and vitriolic political culture for the violence; others portray the shooter as an unhinged, clinically deranged person with his own unfathomable agenda. Arizona has been Ground Zero for the battle over immigration. Were the state’s political and economic travails a contributing factor? There has been some talk about guns, too. Might tighter gun control laws have made a difference?


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Jan 13th 2011 at 10:45am UTC

The Psychogeography of Gun Violence

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

The mass shootings in Tucson over the weekend led to all sorts of exercises in arm-chair psychology. The media was quick to portray the shooter Jared Lee Loughner as unhinged and paranoid, digging up his Internet ravings and probing former friends and classmates for detailed testimonials of his bizarre statements and aggressive behavior. And, following its polarization meme, we were subjected to endless accounts of how America’s heated and “vitriolic” political climate helped to trigger such action.

But what can psychology tell us about the specific ways that regional, locational, and geographic factors can affect gun violence and mass shootings in particular?

I was surprised by what I found out when I asked my colleague Jason Rentfrow, the distinguished social psychologist at Cambridge University, about this. While some continue to attribute gun violence and mass shootings to hot climates in the U.S. and elsewhere – “Living in a hot and uncomfortable climate makes people irritable and rates of violence go up,” as Rentfrow summarizes their thinking – the preponderance of studies focus on a “culture of honor” that is especially pervasive in southern and western states. This is something that pundits and commentators need to take a good deal more seriously because, if it is correct, and a considerable body of research suggests that it is, it suggests that deep-seated regional and cultural factors play a substantial role in mass violence.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Nov 11th 2010 at 1:45pm UTC

Corruption and the Wealth of Nations

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

The United States and other advanced nations are stepping up their efforts to combat corruption in poorer, less developed nations by publicizing the corruption and by punishing their own companies when they engage in it. The U.S. Congress added a bipartisan amendment to pending financial reform legislation, requiring oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose every payment they make to foreign governments, according to a recent report in The Economist.

But can such efforts stem the tide? My own analysis suggests that before we can deal with systemic corruption we must first come to grips with the fact that it doesn’t occur in a vacuum — it is a symptom of deeply rooted economic and social maladies.

Source: Map from The Economist, data from Transparency International.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Aug 6th 2009 at 5:30pm UTC

The Immigration Question

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

American attitudes toward immigration are hardening, according to a new Gallup poll. Half of all Americans say immigration should be “decreased” – up 11 points from 39 percent last year.


Anti-immigration sentiment is growing across all major political groupings. Some 61 percent of Republicans say they would like to see immigration decreased, up from 46 percent in 2008, compared to 46 percent of Democrats, up from 39 percent; and 44 percent of Independents, up from 37 percent.

Southerners show the greatest anti-immigration sentiment with 54 percent saying they would like to see immigration decreased, followed by easterners (51 percent), midwesterners (48 percent), and westerners (44 percent).

The poll also saw a shift in American attitudes toward whether “immigration is a good or a bad thing for the country” with more than a third (36 percent) saying it is a bad thing.

Gallup notes that this marks “a return to the attitudes that prevailed in the first few years after 9/11.”

Immigration in America has gone in great cycles over the past century or two. While immigration has typically fallen during economic crises, the U.S. has prospered from its relative openness to global talent. America saw an influx of leading scientists, entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians during the Great Depression which helped bolster its position at the frontiers of science, technology, entrepreneurship, and the arts during the long post-war boom.

Economic crises are transformative periods when talent flows can be reset and countries and regions rise and decline. The future belongs to those countries and regions that can attract the best and brightest across the entire world.

Growing anti-immigrant sentiment, should it continue, is bad news for American technology, entrepreneurship, and the economy in general. Let’s hope it turns around.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sat May 23rd 2009 at 11:00am UTC

Immigrants and Urban Revival

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

Anti-immigration sentiment may be growing in some parts of the country, but this Philadelphia non-profit welcomes them as part of a new urban future.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu May 21st 2009 at 5:00pm UTC

Realpolitik of Openness and Tolerance

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Stephen Walt spells out the advantages of tolerance, openness, and cosmopolitanism from the realist respective (thanks to Jon Rauch for the pointer). He goes to great pains to point out that he is talking about cosmopolitan openness not just ethnic assimilation.

[T]he pressures of international competition give an advantage to any society that can “cream” some of the smartest and/or hardest working people from all over the world. How? By making that society an attractive place to live and work, mostly by creating an atmosphere of equality and toleration…

And note that this argument isn’t just about ethnic assimilation. In effect, what I’m suggesting is that from a realist perspective, there is a strong case for “small-l” liberal toleration. All else equal, societies that establish strong norms and institutions that protect individual rights and freedoms (including those governing sexual preference, I might add) will become attractive destinations for a wider array of potential citizens than societies that try to maintain a high degree of uniformity. And when you can choose from a bigger talent pool, over time you’re going to do better.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue May 19th 2009 at 6:00pm UTC

Benefits of Marriage Equality

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Same-sex couples have been getting married for five years now in Massachusetts. Gary Gates of UCLA’s Williams Institute has done the number-crunching and identified intriguing economic benefits.

“Data from the American Community Survey suggest that marriage equality has a small but positive impact on the number of individuals in same-sex couples who are attracted to a state. However, marriage equality appears to have a larger impact on the types of individuals in same-sex couples who are attracted to a state. In Massachusetts, marriage equality resulted in an increase of younger, female, and more highly educated and skilled individuals in same-sex couples moving to the state… The evidence that marriage equality may enhance the ability of Massachusetts to attract highly skilled creative class workers among those in same-sex couples offers some support that the policy has the potential to have a long-term positive economic impact.”

Michael Wells
by Michael Wells
Thu Apr 9th 2009 at 1:10pm UTC

I Do! You Do?

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

One of the more controversial ideas in Richard’s Creative Class theory is the Gay Index. To review, he doesn’t say that gays cause creativity, but that their acceptance by the straight community is a sign of tolerance which is important to creative class folks. Well, it looks like a lot of America is becoming more tolerant.

With Iowa and Vermont becoming the third and fourth states to allow same-sex marriage this week, there is obviously a trend. New Hampshire’s State Senate is preparing to vote on a House-passed measure. California is awaiting a state Supreme Court ruling on Proposition 8, which prohibited gay marriage. The Washington, D.C. council unanimously passed a same-sex marriage ordinance but it has to be approved by Congress, so will probably be overturned.

What all of this is showing is a remarkably fast change in public attitudes. The larger public image of gays has shifted from promiscuous pedophiles to 25-year couples who want to get married.

  • A third of Americans think same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, up from 22 percent in 2004. This five-year change is indicative of a major cultural shift.
  • Sixty percent think some sort of legal recognition is appropriate for same-sex couples.
  • California’s Proposition 8, which outlawed gay marriage, passed by 52 percent, meaning that 48 percent or almost half of the state’s population approved.
  • The vote in the D.C. council, which has six of 13 black members, rebuts the idea that the African Americans are uniformly anti gay rights.

News stories point to churches like Quakers and Unitarians that perform same-sex marriages. However, a couple of decades ago no denomination would do so. The difficult changes in Quaker Meetings took years and some members leaving to happen. There’s a saying in Quaker circles that it took 200 years for Quakers to oppose slavery – but they did it 100 years before the rest of the country. The same thing is proving true with gay marriage.

So if America is becoming more accepting of gays, what does this mean for the creative class and the economy?