What Is The Relationship Between Creativity, Happiness And Equality?

What Is The Relationship Between Creativity, Happiness And Equality?

A resourceful analysis indicates that a nation's global creativity index can not only lead to higher economic development, happiness and competitiveness levels - but also to the socio-economic equality of its citizens.

Paloma M. Vazquez
  • 12 october 2011

Richard Florida and The Atlantic introduced us to the notion of the Global Creativity Index (GCI) as a positive indicator of creativity and competitiveness between countries. In Florida’s most recent entry for the publication, he explores the broader notion of economic prosperity by examining the dynamics between competitiveness and happiness, socioeconomic inequality and overall social economic progress. In short, he sought to explore if there is a connection between a nation’s competitiveness (in terms of creative index) and its level of happiness, and between that competitiveness and the nation’s socioeconomic equality. While the full article is worth the read, we’ve surmised some of the key findings:

  • There is a close relationship between the GCI of a nation and and its output (as measured by gross domestic product per capita), which indicates that the more creative and innovative economies tend to be more well developed and competitive. No surprises there.
  • Additionally, innovation and entrepreneurship together drive economic development. More creative economies tend to be more entrepreneurial, as evidenced by a close relationship between the GCI of a nation and its Global Entrepreneurship Index. Again – no surprises.
  • At a correlation of .74, the GCI is also closely associated with reported life satisfaction, meaning that – generally speaking – the more creative a nation’s output, the likelier it is to be happy. When we’re creating, we’re happy. Which is not the same as saying that when we’re working (on just about anything) we’re happy. We need to be employed with the right type of work to match our skill set and desires – and being compensated for it fairly.
  • Which leads to the last point; highly creative nations are less likely to suffer from the deep divides and inequalities that lead to decreased happiness. There are several examples of countries – including in Scandinavia, Northern Europe and Japan that combine high levels of innovation and creativity with lower levels of inequality than what we see in the US and the UK.

While Florida’s points are more specifically targeted to politics and economic policy, we were particularly inspired by the parallels drawn by Florida and his team in developing the models and analysis. For instance, using the Gini Index as a standard measure of income inequality vs. the GCI to understand the relationship between a nation’s innovation and creativity and its level of equality. Or the definition of a nation’s GCI as a broad composite measure based on technology (R&D investment, researchers, and patents per capita) talent and tolerance. The ingenuity in identifying and developing indices based on existing, widely accessible data, which has in turn lead to a more complete assessment and model for comparative socio-economic analysis than what has been proposed around the topic of economic inequality – is a highly resourceful and constructive suggestion for discussing and reframing the problem.

We hope to take a page from Florida’s book and exercise the same ingenuity and resourcefulness when drawing parallels from which to analyze our own hypotheses and explore dynamics through data – political or not.


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