The G&M has a story about the new report on Ontario’s compeitiveness.
Co-author Richard Florida rejects the bailing out of industries and says that Ontario must strive to be the world’s first jurisdiction to revolutionize routine work, to make it more creative and better paying.
The goal, he says, should be to raise the creative content of all jobs, including routine ones in the service sector.
The Florida metamorphosis has begun.
Again, I like the vague concept of making all jobs creative and better paying but like all of Florida’s work (IMO) it floats out there with no real grounding. How do you raise the creative content of jobs and how does that translate into more value to the consumer (and hence the better paying part)?
At one level, Florida is back to the future. In the 1950s, futurists were predicting that machines and technology would virtually eliminate routine and mundane tasks. Some were predicting the average work week would decline to 20 hours per week. They were forecasting a kinder/gentler (almost Star Trekian) time when we would want for naught and work at a leisurely pace. I seen hints of that thinking in Florida’s work.
The business world is the Serengeti Plain. It’s the survival of the fittest. You have to work hard to succeed and so it should be. Florida’s vision just plays into our new narcissistic tendencies. You will never eliminate hard work.
If Ontario drops its car manufacturing and spends billions to make its food service sector more creative, you will get far more funky logos and the guy serving hogies in the food court might sing to you but I seriously doubt you will do much for the Ontario economy.
The right approach is a balanced one realizing that the manufacturing sector was central to Ontario becoming what it has become. Since WW2 the vast majority of all new manufacturing in Canada that is not tied to natural resources in a local area has gone into southern Ontario. The province needs to figure out what 21st century manufacturing looks like and make sure that Ontario gets its share (or as has been the case far more than its share).
Then it does need to nurture its knowledge-based industries and spur innovation and creativity. But in the food service and hotel sectors?