Richard Florida (The Rise of the Creative Class; The Great Reset) is one of the authors I just regularly “check in with/catch up on.” In a recent article, What Makes Women Rich, he makes a simple point very clearly and persuasively: them more opportunity for women, the more progress a nation can make. The article is worth a careful read. Here are excerpts:
Women make up the majority of the U.S. workforce and an even larger majority of knowledge, professional, and creative workers. In a provocative and controversial essay in this magazine, Hannah Rosin argues that the post-industrial economy is better suited to the types of skills and capabilities women possess. The current economic crisis has been dubbed a “mancession” by some – as men in blue-collar jobs have borne the brunt of layoffs and unemployment.
It stands to reason that economies that afford women more opportunity will gain economic advantage for the simple reason that they can tap a broader reservoir of talent and skill.
Economic opportunity for women is closely associated with the transition to knowledge-driven economic structures with higher levels of human capital and more creative class occupations. Women’s economic opportunity is also greater in nations which are more open and tolerant generally toward gays and lesbians and racial and ethnic minorities. Overall, we find an especially close association between the economic opportunity afforded women and our Global Creativity Index, a composite measure of national creativity and competitiveness. Nations where women have greater economic opportunity also have higher levels of overall life satisfaction and happiness.
Not only do women have greater opportunity in wealthier, more open, post-industrial nations, women are an integral component of the economic development equation. Nations that are more open to women and afford them more opportunity gain economic advantage by harnessing a greater level of human skill and potential. Now, more than ever, the path to economic prosperity requires further human development. Creating economic and social structures which develop women’s full talents and afford them the full range of economic opportunity is a key element in securing lasting economic prosperity.
It never ends. There is always the next new thing to learn. And not just the next new thing, but, in reality, the new world — the whole new landscape, the changing approach, to work itself. “The old has gone, the new” keeps coming…
Peter Drucker, who coined the phrase the “knowledge worker” in his 1959 book Landmarks of Tomorrow, wrote this in his 1994 essay: The Age of Social Transformation:
The great majority of the new jobs require qualifications the industrial worker does not possess and is poorly equipped to acquire. They require a good deal of formal education and the ability to acquire and to apply theoretical and analytical knowledge. They require a different approach to work and a different mind-set. Above all, they require a habit of continuous learning. Displaced industrial workers thus cannot simply move into knowledge work or services the way displaced farmers and domestic workers (the dominant jobs at the turn of the last century – R.M) moved into industrial work. At the very least they have to change their basic attitudes, values, and beliefs.
The United States has long moved away from being a manufacturing-oriented society toward one that is knowledge-based and service-oriented. Most of the manufacturing work that employees performed with their hands has now been replaced by machines and technology.
In the book that I will present on Friday, April 2 at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, author Matthew B. Crawford provides a unique perspective on the value of doing work the old-fashioned way: with your hands.
The book, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work, published by Penguin Press, is quite a surprise coming from this author’s background. He holds a Ph.D. in political philosphy from the University of Chicago. His greatest interest, however, is running his independent motorcycle shop, Shockoe Moto, in Richmond, Virginia. You will have to admit that is quite an interesting combination.
Even more surprising is where you find this book. Despite its title that includes “work,” you will not locate it in the business section of the bookstore. I found it in the philosophy section. That is consistent with the author’s background, but not with the subject matter. Make no mistake about it – this is a business book.
You will find yourself questioning the worth of turning everyone into a “knowledge worker,” which he claims comes from a misguided separation of thinking from doing, and from working with the hands from the mind.
Perhaps from a throwback perspective, you will find this refreshing.
Look for the summary soon at 15MinuteBusinessBooks.com.