Comment 64526

By highwater (registered) | Posted June 03, 2011 at 11:40:53 in reply to Comment 64515

Hamilton's top two employers, Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University, are high-value examples of Florida's "creative class". The same can be said of Hamilton's plastic surgeons, lab techs, pharmacists, optometrists, veterinarians, engineers, architects, lawyers, bankers, accountants, insurance underwriters, claims adjusters, marketers, PR agencies, broadcasters, programmers, etc. In other words, the well-paid professionals who, when geographically clustered, can significantly improve the economic profile of their host community. Florida posits something fairly unremarkable: Those cities able to attract a large number of well-paid professionals will experience economic growth.

HHS and Mac have been our top employers for a number of years now, but our economic growth has remained stagnant because they are public agencies who don't contribute to the corporate tax base. We'll continue to languish if we rely solely on the health and education sectors to attract well-paid professionals, especially since we just elected a conservative government that will be bringing in massive cuts to these sectors.

We can't discount their value however, as they bring enormous prestige to our community and have an incalculable impact on our quality of life - a critical factor in attracting the aforementioned professionals. In this respect, they are not unlike the cultural sector. I don't think anyone is arguing that cultural workers have a lock on creativity, or that Florida's definition of 'creative class' is comprised solely of cultural workers. As Henry and Joe says, their presence is more correlational than causational. However, at this moment in time in our city, it is in the cultural sector that we are seeing the creativity, dynamism, and entrepreneurship that will need to spill over into other private sector industries if we are to rebuild our economic base.

And don't discount the manufacturing and agricultural sectors if any of Jeff Rubin's predictions come true. It would be just as unwise to put all our eggs in the entertainment basket as it is to put them all in the health/education basket.

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