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Friday, May 4, 2012

The Conflicted Class: The Rust Belt as a Source of Creativity | Richey Piiparinen, Rust Wire

In this intriguing article, blogger Richey Piiparinen suggests we should expect some creative, innovative thinking out of the unemployment crisis--and the conflict it creates--in the United States, particularly in the Rust Belt. That's the Midwestern and northeastern states where outsourcing and other economic conditions are reducing employment. At least that's how I read his blog. Let's hope so!

He writes:
Imagine for a moment: there is a spot not far from where I live. It was the Stockyards. It had money and movement. Now it has shells of buildings and gaps in the street line. What’s still there are scrapyards. Into these scrapyards go people’s collections of junk metal. They are getting paid pittance from the metallic crumbs that represent touchable symbols of their own economic demise. That folks, is conflict.
Piiparinen admits that the resulting conflict "can kill," but he writes that it "can also ignite production," not by a"paper-pusher" but by the artist or entrepreneur. And that conflict-stirred creation happens in two ways, from within and from without.

From within, he writes, that conflict prompts creativity "to transgress the mountain of life’s messes." It prompts new insights about challenges to overcome.

Piiparinen wirites:
Perhaps that’s why creativity is so hard, because it is much easier to coast than it is to being aware of the struggles settling inside. It’s much easier to bury the conflict in conformity, and to join the crowd of those pointing fingers at ones who don’t engage in that Puritan wholesomeness of counting beans.
And the more-obvious conflicts from without have a big impact on confronters, people stirred to be creative to deal with whatever is causing the conflict.

Either metaphorically or not (in reference to the Rust Belt), Piiparinen writes:
All across the country people are fleeing their illusions freely. Many are coming here to live in so-called death. What they are finding is freedom to accept life as it is. And with that comes creative powers that may point us in a direction of where life needs to be.
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