I once wrote a children’s youth fiction fantasy kinda book called Wayland. The book was about a little boy who travels into a forest, and by doing so, he travels back through EuroAmerican history. Each group of talking animals he encounters is a representative of different eras such as the Industrial Revolution and the Renaissance and so forth. In writing about the Renaissance in this creative, character-driven way I came to understand the Renaissance to be very much like our present time here in this place.
Florence was at the center of the world from a trade perspective, much like the United States has been for a while. Thus, they had the constant opportunity to create wealth, and they did. Much of their wealth was from textiles. Florentine individuals and companies were buying the raw materials and the natural resources from the Ottomans. Then they were using innovation to create a better and brighter textile product than was made anywhere else, and then they sold it back to the Ottomans. While textiles was the largest piece of the economy, it was the innovation slice of textiles that drove the creation of wealth. The Florentines were consistent innovators. The town was full of creative, skilled people doing innovative work.
Such jobs employed many and gave some the freedom of movement in social class. And the money did floweth. The city itself was a cultural hub of economy and social behavior – a vibrant village, so to speak. The city made a huge investment in the arts, driven by private sector leaders in the community. The whole community was governed by those same private sector groups. The Guilds were made up of artists and bankers essentially – those driving the innovation and those controlling the wealth. Their investment in their own place, intentionally creating an exceptional place, drew people to the city, and the innovation trades gave them work to do when they got there. This was the new economy. The Dark Ages were over.
Modern day United States is urbanizing into vibrant villages across the nation. Every small town is revitalizing their urban centers. The millennial generation is collaborating among bankers and artists at the same table. The traditional industries, like manufacturing and textiles, are rearranging into innovation industries with strong 1099 economies (the village economy of old). The relos are happening near compelling cultural centers. The entrepreneur is co-creating his own job in and near these cultural hubs. The Internet is allowing the connectivity that makes all the village economies in the nation be one economy, an economy based on innovation. This is the new economy. The Industrial Era is over.