On November 4th, Arianna participated in the "Opportunity Nation" Summit in New York City. Fareed Zakaria, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others also participated in the Summit. The event is described on the "Opportunity Nation" website as follows:
The summit will feature a small number of influential speakers who will speak both about their own experiences with opportunity - events and moments that shaped their lives - as well as highlight examples of how their work creates opportunity for others.
The topic of discussion for Arianna's appearance was the "American Dream."
Arianna appeared on-stage along with The Washington Post's Michael Gerson, who was also a special assistant to President George W. Bush.
"My view of what is happening is that almost as though we're looking at a split-screen reality. And depending on which side of the screen you are looking at, you can be deeply pessimistic or deeply optimistic," said Arianna.
She mentioned that "one side of the screen" includes grim unemployment and foreclosure statistics. In addition, Arianna stated, the United States ranks "10th in upward mobility," which she explained puts us "behind France." She continued, that's "as if France would be behind us in croissants and afternoon sex, because, you know, upward mobility is sort of at the heart of the American Dream."
Arianna also mentioned "the other side of the screen." On that flip side, according to Arianna, "we do have an explosion of empathy and compassion and creativity at the community level very often." She relayed a conversation that she had with Pastor Rick Warren in which the two discussed how "churches, synagogues and local institutions are coming together to make a difference."
Arianna also explained that the founding fathers of capitalism "all were very concerned about a moral foundation to capitalism," but that today that "moral foundation" has fallen by the wayside.
"It's almost as though we went from a country that makes things, to a country that makes things up," explained Arianna. She cited "credit default swaps, derivatives, you know ways to make money that do not add value" as the manifestation of this syndrome.
She concluded, "The more we can strengthen the part of us that ultimately brings us together rather than tears us apart, the more likely it is that we'll be able to get out of this crisis and not just survive, but thrive at a higher level."
Click here to view Arianna's appearance (via C-SPAN). Her portion of the video begins at 01:07:00.