At the heart and soul of every person in America – a sentiment shared by everyone globally, just more enforced here, is the belief that expansion does not necessarily have to butt heads with survival.
The comforts of an earned life and the pride in doing what you want rather than struggling into the world that seems so dispassionate to personal concerns has been the promised land paved by the American forefathers.
Though the nature of this dream has evolved and changed, these tenants have generally remained the same, yet now in modern America, it seems that we must yet again wrestle with the changing nature of this dream and where it rests in the social zeitgeist.
It goes unambiguously stated that San Francisco, home of the Silicon Valley, has always been the testament to American ingenuity. It seems that our expansion westward envisioned by Jefferson were more than just a motion to unite both oceans, but a social propulsion through history to rest our nexus of intelligence on our western shore.
Yet even when we think about the American Dream, the ideology fueling the beautiful family, a nice house, dog, and a good nest egg to retire on, San Francisco’s housing crisis seemingly is the death knell to the attempt at this American fantasy.
Left and right there are pundits who sacrificed this American mindscape upon the altar of factual realism. In fact there are those who are so skeptical of the future of the United States that some Silicon Valley insiders have already retreated to their bunkers to weather the proposed fall.
So why this heavy focus on Silicon Valley? Despite the 21st Century being built on the companies that emerged from the Bay, statistically speaking the United States isn’t demographically represented by their actions.
Nevertheless, the Silicon Valley represents the future, geographically and philosophically opposite of the old money and ideology that is embodied by Wall Street, and as represented by this year’s presidential election, the unrepresented no longer have faith in the old way of doing things.
But was it ever truly a fantasy? You would assume that with Trump and Thiel championing the relationship between the Tech Industry and the marriage of business and politics that the future of the American Dream is secured.
Even then there’s a sour note on the idea of opportunity in the States and who’s deserved of the splendors of American values. Trump’s proposed rejection of the changing identity of the United States seems to undermine the very make-up of the talent and intellectual property produced from the Bay.
It’s hard to not see the American Dream in limbo.
At some point in the next five years we’ll have to take a hard, strong look at how the implications will influence society, but for now let us observe how the tech sector still ensures this old mantra in a new light.
In essence, Silicon Valley popularized the idea of the start up – the rise of the majority of popular networks and companies today originated from the iterations of ideas out of small units. Companies like Zendesk who originated out of small beginnings in Denmark now call the tech haven home and in Mikkel Svane’s words when asked about the American Dream in an interview with Inc,
“Coming from a small country like Denmark, we feel like we’ve tapped into the American dream. We started with something small and we kept building it, and now it’s this big, beautiful, amazing thing. There is a lot of inequality all over the world, but I do not think the American dream has been threatened. But a lot of the amazing things happening today benefit only a small number of people.”
Even with Jack Ma’s (CEO of the widely used e-commerce website Alibaba) investment into the United States in the form of opening 1 million job opportunities through partnering with people to sell on the prolific platform provides the opportunity to achieve the American Dream in a new way.
And this, from a Forbes article on the relationship between Ma and Trump,
“In the long-term, connecting a broad swath of people to markets via digital platforms and collaborative networks has the potential to create far more jobs than Mr. Trump’s high profile corporate witch-hunts.”
Make no mistake, the window on the classic form of the American Dream is closing, equal opportunity has shrunk over the course of generations, and a new America is emerging. One that is bracing for technology to level the playing field, and it seems that more and more international influence will allow the American public to embrace this new tomorrow in lieu of the social and political tone echoing from capitol hill.
The societal structure and forward thinking upheld by the Silicon Valley is that of inspiration and efficiency – two things that America as a whole needs a lot of right now. If we embrace the positives that the Tech Sector allows us to envision – maybe we’ll have a better shot in the days to come.