A Letter to Mark Zuckerberg and Ta-Nehesi Coates

For me, the issue of international trade cannot be separated from the question of how we can collectively fulfill our innate human potential. That is why I have been a passionate supporter of the TPP from the start.  It certainly is not perfect, and economic development and growth is a painful process (just like any process of deep change). However, I stand firm in my belief that the TPP is needed to help accelerate the pace with which all countries move through the four stages of economic evolution.   As developing economies evolve from agricultural-, to manufacturing-, to service-, to knowledge-based (and then, I might further propose, wisdom-based), they necessarily develop more efficient means of production, higher wages, higher education levels, and a higher standard of living, which means less pollution, less violence, more innovation, and a better quality of life for us all. 

Supporting each other through this process of evolution is critical. It requires developing in ourselves deep empathy and compassion for those who are behind us on the economic development ladder, and reaching out to lend them a practical hand up, which is what the TPP is intended to do.  It also means not knocking down or being fearful of those who are ahead of us.  If we all move forward in a calm, peaceful and orderly fashion, we can all arrive to a place where we are each rich -- rich enough financially to meet our basic needs and deeply wealthy in our friendships, human connections, life purpose, and contribution to the beautiful world that is both our birthright and responsibility to protect.

To help make this point and in light of Mark Zuckerberg's recent announcement to dedicate $45 Billion to advancing equality and human potential (framed as a letter to his newborn daughter), and in light of Ta-Nehesi Coate's award-winning memoir Between the World and Me outlining with ruthless honesty the damage done by decades of entrenched and systemic oppression (framed as a letter to his 12-year old son), I have written a letter to both Mark and Ta-Nehisi. 

I hope you'll read it here. 

I would love to hear your thoughts so please feel free to share widely and encourage anyone to send me their feedback.  I am continuously updating the article as I hear back so that it may speak for and to as many people as possible.  Feedback is also great fodder for pushing our collective thinking deeper and farther. Thank you!