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Baldacci and Richard Florida- A Love Affair.

In the last post we met Lego-Man, the face and voice of redistribution economics  whose avatar appropriately portrays a mechanized man as opposed to a living organic being .

Lego-Man implied that I was too stupid to get in on the gravy train of government redistributed wealth.

In fact I have a long history of trying to work with government resources.

I first became involved in what our state government was doing at the beginning of the Baldacci administration. In my younger days I was not at all involved in politics, I hardly knew the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans and I had no idea what the left and the right were. And yet, even in my ignorance I leaned right.

 I initially took an open minded approach to Baldacci's "creative economy"  but interpreted through my own lens to mean creative thinking about the whole economy, I soon realized that Baldacci did not share my way of seeing. Baldacci was a disciple of Richard Florida whose writings emphasized attracting a "creative" (wealthier) class of people, While I imagined a foundational process involving taking an account of the existing economic landscape and building on that, Baldacci and his mentor Florida were aiming to fundamentally transform society using Richard Florida's template for creativity, which came complete with a points system for keeping score.

In those days my primary contact with government was through the Maine Arts Commission which published a juried "creative economy" list serve. At the time, It was a new phenomena  to be able to engage with the people of Maine through the cyber space. The jury proved to be intent on stopping all conversations which I found worthy to engage. The jury decided what would be published on the list serve. Every website published through the list serve displayed a credit to Richard Florida as their inspiration.

During this time I received an email from Wendy Rosen who is a nationally recognized mover and shaker in the private sector craft world. Wendy Rosen created and manages the Rosen Shows, the largest wholesale craft shows, and publishes several related magazines. Back then Rosen was writing to crafters in Maine to encourage us to write to Olympia Snowe in support of a bill that would prevent indelible labeling on foreign imports. Foreign made craft products produced in countries with lower cost labor were being imported into the United States with only paper labels identifying the countries of origin, which were then removed revealing more permanent American sounding names underneath. These products were flooding the Rosen Shows.

I submitted a post about this cause to the Creative Economy List Serve, run by the Maine Arts Commission's panel of jurors. It was sumarily rejected as inappropriate for the tax payer funded list serve. I then printed the flyer up and went to a local craft fair to distribute it. There it was being grabbed out of my hands before I could finish my words.

One crafter recommended that I write to Mrs Baldacci regarding the panels rejection of a post in support of the congressional bill. I did so and several months later, I received an apology from the panel. The explanation was they thought my post was "spam" apparently not cognizant enough to know that spam is sent to mass addresses. It was the most insulting apology that I could have imagined but typical of the way that our ceramic company and many others were being treated by the "jurors" of the taxpayer subsidized Maine Arts Commission. Like Baldacci and Florida, the Maine Arts Commission took an attitude that they exist to transform the Maine arts, not to work with existing participants. Perhaps, things would have been different if I had said that I was inspired to pass Wendy Rosen's request along by crediting Richard Florida as my inspiration. Not only did their actions show complete ignorance about who Wendy Rosen was but also about who Andersen Studio is- a Maine based company who has received distinctive recognition in our own field and in former days our product was used by the Governor of Maine as gifts- but that was the old economy, for which Richard Florida and his army of lemmings has little use.

in 2012, Governor Baldacci's Guru, Richard Florida published this article on the Urban- Rural Divide  citing "  A new Federal Reserve Bank of New York Staff Report by my Martin Prosperity Institute colleague Kevin Stolarick, Fed economist Jaison Abel, and Todd Gabe of the University of Maine,

While I dislike exclusionary terms such as 'creative class",  some of the thinking of Richard Florida is sound in theory, while destructive in practice, especially when one is in the class that the socio-economic macro managers  who call themselves "the creative class" have decided to exclude  - as is the case with our ceramic art and design business as it interacted with the Maine's Art Commission, and the  Maine Crafts Association. At times I could hear the term "commercial" dripping out of the unspoken thought memes operative in the government art bureaucracy.  "commercial" being as derogatory a term as the exclusionary "creative class'  is superlative.

In Oxford Journals Richard Florida's "creative class : is defined like so:

Endogenous growth models, originating with Romer (1986, 1990) and Lucas (1988),posit that growth comes from knowledge that, because of its quasi-public nature, spills over into local economies as it is assimilated. For Florida (2002), knowledge and creativity are concentrated in the ‘creative class’, comprised of people in occupations that produce new knowledge and ideas and understand their use. For our purposes, Florida’s central insight is that this class is not fixed in place but geographically fluid, drawn to places that offer interesting lives as well as interesting work. New economic knowledge may thus diffuse out of the localities where it was generated, and localities can gain knowledge and creativity by attracting this class.

(Note that everything here is about the "new" part of the lingo consistent with a "trans-formative" ideology, with "creative class" signifying a self assumed elite overlord class that justifies its natural born right to macro manage the lives of ordinary and lesser men)

The idea has some truth to it, but when applied through "targeted sector" economics that Maine State Inc institutes, the range of what is included in " produce new knowledge and ideas and understand their use" is exceedingly narrow and uncreative in that it is based in the destruction of mass constituencies of existing culture as we saw expressed by Democratic gubernatorial hopeful, Steve Brooks, who would very much like to be the next CEO of Maine State Enterprises.


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