Belmont Club

Present at creation

And you thought the winner was the working man. Joel Kotkin at Forbes describes who he thinks won and who lost in America’s class wars.

Obama’s triumph reflects a decisive shift in the economic center of gravity away from military contractors, manufacturers, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, suburban real estate developers, energy companies, old-line remnants on Wall Street and other traditional backers of the GOP. In their place, we can see the rise of a different set of players, predominately drawn from the so-called “creative class” of Silicon Valley, Hollywood and the younger, go-go set in the financial world.

These latter business interests provided much of the consistent and massive financial advantage that the Illinois senator has accrued since early spring. The term “creative class” was popularized by former George Mason professor Richard Florida, who used it to describe those with both brainy business acumen and a very liberal cultural agenda borrowed from the bohemians of the ’60s.

It’s an interesting concept, which assumes that sometime in the recent past people who made tangible things, like food, airplanes, cars, and do-it-yourself furniture stopped “creating”, a term which can now only apply to artistes. I think it’s a concept which can only exist where the existence of things is taken for granted so that we no longer regard their creation as remarkable. Assured prosperity creates strange attitudes. There’s a story about a London bum who went up to a Duchess during the Depression. “I’m hungry,” he said. “Why don’t you eat?” was her reply. Bertolt Brecht wrote in words whose original intention are ironically reflected back on his own ideology.

Each page a victory
At whose expense the victory ball?
Every ten years a great man,
Who paid the piper?

So many particulars.
So many questions. …

And even in Atlantis of the legend The night the seas rushed in, The drowning men still bellowed for their slaves.

Kotkin goes on to say that Obama’s truest believers came from “college towns, urban centers, some elite suburbs … Nearly one quarter of the core “creative group,” those working in the arts and culture industries, live in just two cities, New York and Los Angeles.”

Many of these workers are employed by a far smaller, and more influential, base of largely pro-Obama corporate and financial titans who embrace the Florida view that “creativity” can save the U.S. economy. These include the likes of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google … as well as a who’s who of other Silicon Valley oligarchs. Obama has also enjoyed almost lock-step support in Hollywood and among the go-go wing on Wall Street. Hedge-fund managers, for example, gave 77% of their contributions in congressional races to Democrats last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan analyst of campaign finances. George Soros, the peculiarly left-leaning financial speculator, has been a long-time financial supporter and a critical ally in terms of funding pro-Obama media.

Creative. But what did they create?


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