An “UN-Conference” at the state Historical Center today threw the spotlight on creative careers, and how much they contribute to Iowa’s economy. Iowa State University research scientist David Swenson says “creative” can mean artists and performers. The idea was to look at the economy and what makes up a creative occupation, and what kind of industry requires it. The other keynote guest was Richard Florida, author of “The Rise of the Creative Class.” Swenson says creativity is art in galleries, of course…but it’s far more. It’s many things we think of as “creative” but also people who have scientific talent, technical skills and professional educations that let them apply their creativity at work every day. Swenson is an economist at ISU and put together the data for today’s unveiling of Iowa’s first Cerative Economy Study. The idea is that most of the wealth created in society isn’t made by machines or even labor, but by the “commodification of ideas.” He says art isn’t just in a gallery but everywhere, and the study’s to make us think about the fusion of science, art and technology and how they’re part of a creative economy. Looking at the industries that fit the “creative” category, the average job there pays 60-percent more than jobs in other kidns of industry. Swenson says the implication there for public-policy planners is to target economic-development fresources to the kind of industries toward not only valuable industries but also the kind of creative people who have good earnings potential.
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