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Harv Bus Rev. 2004 Oct;82(10):122-4, 126, 128 passim.

America's looming creativity crisis.

Author information

1
George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia, USA. florida@gmu.edu

Abstract

The strength of the American economy does not rest on its manufacturing prowess, its natural resources, or the size of its market. It turns on one factor--the country's openness to new ideas, which has allowed it to attract the brightest minds from around the world and harness their creative energies. But the United States is on the verge of losing that competitive edge. As the nation tightens its borders to students and scientists and subjects federal research funding to ideological and religious litmus tests, many other countries are stepping in to lure that creative capital away. Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and others are spending more on research and development and shoring up their universities in an effort to attract the world's best--including Americans. If even a few of these nations draw away just a small percentage of the creative workers from the U.S., the effect on its economy will be enormous. In this article, the author introduces a quantitative measure of the migration of creative capital called the Global Creative-Class Index. It shows that, far from leading the world, the United States doesn't even rank in the top ten in the percentage of its workforce engaged in creative occupations. What's more, the baby boomers will soon retire. And data showing large drops in foreign student applications to U.S. universities and in the number of visas issued to knowledge workers, along with concomitant increases in immigration in other countries, suggest that the erosion of talent from the United States will only intensify. To defend the U.S. economy, the business community must take the lead in ensuring that global talent can move efficiently across borders, that education and research are funded at radically higher levels, and that we tap into the creative potential of more and more workers. Because wherever creativity goes, economic growth is sure to follow.

PMID:
15559581
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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