Mark Penn Thinks We Can’t Build A Road

Yeah, I’m admittedly no fan of Mark Penn, a former advisor to the Hillary Clinton campaign, but in this Wall Street Journal editorial, he is kinda sorta somewhat concerned about the plight of the “Creative Class” and other white-collar jobs in this economy:

We are totally unprepared for this new phenomenon. We have safety nets for the chronically unemployed, for the fast-food workers let go (oddly they may be the only ones keeping their jobs in this recession), and for the manufacturing plants that have been shuttered. The stimulus will create construction jobs galore. But we have nothing for the tens of thousands of displaced advertising creatives and newspaper writers and editors that are among the newly unemployed. They can’t build roads — all they learned how to do was to write ads and draft editorials.

Is there a solution for unemployment–or underemployment–in an information-based economy? Can Americans learn how to make and fix things with their hands again?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. no comment… I have been as unemployable as julie roehm as George would remind me.
    …and laughing because the person who can think and lift a shovel (of shit) can even learn do without employment, huh? That’s what two years of being ignored teaches you in this world.
    time to click on my shutter.
    like they say…
    last one in the pool is a rotten egg.
    last one out of the pool?
    is probably one of the most diligent swimmers.

  2. Hold it, I make branded communications with my hands. Don’t I?

  3. I agree with some of what Mark Penn says (cringe!) but I think he perpetuates the notion that professionals need to narrowly define their skills to get ahead and find new work.
    I think most of us are skilled at a lot more than we think we are, as long as we’re willing to repackage ourselves and perhaps get a bit of extra training here and there.
    If we are the “Creative Class” we should be able to pull this off. But I’m not going to hold my breath for gov’t support, that’s for sure.

  4. There’s a fascinating article in this month’s The Atlantic about how the recession/depression will reshape the economy and possibly even our geographies.
    One of the author’s big points is how urban centers with varied creative classes could actually thrive going forward, feeding off the metabolic rush that comes with the density and diversity. Interesting stuff. (And it’s online in its entirety. Nicely done, Atlantic.)