Why is the U.S. One of the Most Unequal Countries on the Planet?

One key factor is a fundamental shift in nature of the economy.

Steve Denning’s Forbes article, “Roger Martin: How ‘The Talent’ Turned Into Vampires” also sheds light on why we need to rethink our education paradigms:
How did America—a country dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal—become one of the most unequal countries on the planet? Why do the nation’s leaders now spend so much of their time feeding at the trough and getting ever more for themselves? Why has public-mindedness in our leaders given way in so many instances to limitless greed?
These questions are being raised, not in some anti-capitalist rag from the extreme Left, but in the staid pro-business pages of the Harvard Business Review, in a seminal article by Roger Martin, the former dean of the Rotman School of Business and the academic director of the Martin Prosperity Institute: “The Rise and (Likely) Fall of the Talent Economy.
One key factor, argues Martin, is a fundamental shift in nature of the economy. Fifty years ago, “72% of the top 50 U.S. companies by market capitalization still owed their positions to the control and exploitation of natural resources.” But in the latter part of the 20th century, a new kind of organization began to emerge: an organization that prospered not by natural resources but through “the control and exploitation of human talent.”
“By 2013 more than half of the top 50 companies were talent-based, including three of the four biggest: Apple, Microsoft, and Google. (The other one was ExxonMobil.) Only 10 owed their position on the list to the ownership of resources. Over the past 50 years the U.S. economy has shifted from financing the exploitation of natural resources to making the most of human talent.”
This inequality is also addressed in a new book, The Vanishing Middle Class: Prejudice and Power in a Dual Economy, by Peter Temin, an economist from MIT. Temin argues that, following decades of growing inequality, America is now left with what is more or less a two-class system: One small, predominantly white upper class that wields a disproportionate share of money, power, and political influence and a much larger, minority-heavy (but still mostly white) lower class that is all too frequently subject to the first group’s whims.

Continue reading


Tech Diversity

Franklin, Crick, Watson, and Wilkins

Rosalind Franklin was the most important person in the story of DNA’s discovery. She was the first-ever member of the human race—or any other species on earth—to see the secret of life. She answered Schrödinger’s question “What Is Life?” with a photograph she took on May 1, 1952. She pointed her camera at a single strand of DNA…. There was nothing else like [her camera] anywhere in the world….
Franklin knew what she had, but she did not run through the King’s College corridors shouting some equivalent of “Eureka!” She was determined not to leap to conclusions. She wanted to work through the math and have proof before she published, and she was determined to keep an open mind until she had gathered all data. So she gave the image the serial number 51 and continued her work…. Then Maurice Wilkins [Franklin’s associate at King’s College] showed picture 51 to James Watson and Francis Crick, and the three men were awarded the Nobel Prize for a woman’s work.
It was the same when Marietta Blau, an unpaid woman working at the University of Vienna, developed a technique for photographing atomic particles. Blau could not get a paid position anywhere, even though her work was a major advance in particle physics. C. F. Powell, a man who “adopted and improved” her techniques, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950. Agnes Pockels was denied a college education because she was a woman, taught herself science from her brother’s textbooks, created a laboratory in her kitchen, and used it to make fundamental discoveries about the chemistry of liquids. Her work was “adopted” by Irving Langmuir, who won a Nobel Prize for it in 1932. There are many similar stories. A lot of men have won Nobel Prizes in science for discoveries made in whole or part by women….
For centuries, white men have tried to persuade other people that white men are superior. In the process, many white men have become convinced of their own superiority.
How a Fly a Horse
By Kevin Ashton

Women and the Nobel Prize

Secret of Photo 51

Continue reading