Who’s Your City and Paternalism

Authors@Google

Richard Florida quotes Scott Page (The Difference) on the causes of innovation (paraphrased by me):

If you want to know where innovation comes from, you have to understand cognitive diversity – cognitive diversity is critical for innovation. And an easy route to cognitive diversity is through demographic diversity – diversity in ethnicity, nationality, place of birth, gender, sexual orientation, age groups. Benefits from such result in the clustering force.

Most of the people I know who criticize the paternalistic policies of modern Asian nations are bent on replacing that paternalism with another paternalism of their own design. Pluralism requires a bigger cognitive jump, I think.

At 53:30, Florida explicitly mentions the missing element in trying to create Silicon Valleys by combining universities and venture capital – you are still missing the tolerance for diversity, which is left out because of its subversive potential.

Diversity is not all good, however – according to Robert Putnam (KSG), there is evidence that diverse neighborhoods exhibit more social isolation. That study is consistent with “Who’s Your City” in determining a positive correlation between diversity and creativity/economics, but finds that social trust is lowered by diversity.

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