The Great Reset, or, It’s the Economy Stupid, Reprise

It’s the day after President Obama’s third State of the Union speech, and the economy is still horrible. I hope he can do something about it, but I’m not overly confident. I am disappointed that climate change didn’t even rate a single sentence. Global climate change is really not the kind of thing you can just ignore and expect it to go away. Anyway, this week I read a non-fiction book called The Great Reset, and here is my review.

The Great Reset by Richard Florida (Harper Collins, 2010)

The thesis of this book is that a “great reset” of the economy will follow our current “great recession,” possibly making us miserable in the short run but benefitting us in the long run.  Richard Florida (the author of several similar books which I have read), is good at quoting statistics and making broad generalizations, most of which seem reasonable,  but he often makes assumptions and glosses over key obstacles. Not everyone can move to distant cities for a job, or give up their car and live in a city. I don’t really buy his argument that everyone at heart wants to do creative work, so an economy based on creative work will make everyone happy in the long run. If you’ve read any of the myriad books on occupation and personality profiling, you know that there are at least half a dozen different types of human personalities, each suited to a different type of occupation. I feel that the current American economy greatly over-emphasizes work suitable for outgoing personalities who love sales & marketing and “working with people” and doesn’t provide nearly enough work for other types of people. Florida (who has a city planning background) also tends to want to make everything about geography and place, even those things (like economics) which really aren’t. I do have to give him kudos for reminding us folks in the States that Canada not only exists, but is thriving economically.

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