Notebook: Wonder Woman, America’s Dual Economy And Responsibility

Two American Economies

I read a thought-provoking article by New Economic Thinking on how America is no longer one country, but in fact emerging as two economies.

Peter Temin, Professor Emeritus of Economics at MIT, put forward the idea that 20% of people are part of the financial, technology and electronics economy, the “FTE sector.” Then there is everyone else. For those in the FTE segment of the economy – American health care, job opportunities and upward mobility, generally, works. This group makes decisions for the whole economy. The other 80% experience life differently with stagnating income, housing woes and an education structure trapping them in debt.

I realize there are some long conversations and stories to be shared on these statements. Where we come from is as diverse as where we are headed.

Where I Come From

Still, I’m now part of the FTE economy. I came from the blue-collar class. My mother was excellent, as a single mom she worked on a construction crew hanging off the sides of bridges – creating opportunities for my sister (headed to NASA!) and me. What I lacked in early childhood education I gain in character, and it cost our family a lot.

I know my America is not everyone’s America. I don’t think there is one America – maybe that’s obvious.

Wonder Woman’s Strong Words

In the new Wonder Woman movie, Diana (Gal Gadot) speaks the powerful statement “But then I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learnt that inside every one of them there will always be both.” And I wonder, am I a microcosm of the economy I live in? A 20/80 person. What percentage of my ability should be directed outward?

I ask myself, as I aim to push the future forward, with the power and knowledge I possess, what responsibilities do I have to my community, technology industry, and others?

These are questions lived rather than answered.
And the knowledge of a dual American economy gives new context to consider.

Diana Prince: I used to want to save the world, to end war and bring peace to mankind. But then I glimpsed the darkness that lives within their light. I learnt that inside every one of them there will always be both. The choice each must make for themselves – something no hero will ever defeat. And now I know… that only love can truly save the world. So now I stay, I fight, and I give – for the world I know can be. This is my mission now, for ever.

Photos credit Alexandre Godreau and Brandon Mowinkel

Also published on Medium.