Friday, May 31, 2002's witty "Moneybox" correspondent, Rob Walker, has his thoughts about Richard Florida's "creative class" theory here. Walker usually takes a forthright position in his articles, but this time he's surprisingly hedged about Florida's research and analysis. Part of his tentativeness may come from Walker's own perspective, living in New Orleans--which has got to be one of the most tolerant communities in the world, not just the U.S., but which ranks far lower when it comes to technology and talent. Conversely, Dallas doesn't strike anyone as all that tolerant, and isn't renown for its world-class universities, either. (I'd take Tulane over SMU; wouldn't you?)

Of course, New Orleans may be an exception. As Calvin Trillin once noted, you'll understand New Orleans much better once you realize that it isn't the southern United States; it's northern Costa Rica. But with such strangely un-hip places showing up high in Florida's rankings (Harrisburg, PA? Scroll down to medium-sized city rankings), and with the seductiveness of the theory perhaps overpowering critical faculties--who wouldn't want to buy into a theory holding that being cool is the way to get rich?--it's no wonder Walker approaches Florida's theories with such trepidation.

Wouldn't Florida himself say that skepticism is appropriate? I mean, isn't skepticism hip? Seriously, Walker notes that Florida's book raises lots of interesting questions--even if some of the answers may be too simplistic or just wrong.

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