Both can be experienced in Baltimore within a few blocks of each other, Simon said last month during the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, Australia. The Guardian this week posted an edited excerpt of the speech during which Simon criticized capitalism and greed.
"There are definitely two Americas," he said. "I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely."
Simon talked about changes at the Sun that he said sacrificed talent for profit, and how Baltimore -- and the country as a whole -- has marginalized the poor.
"I'm utterly committed to the idea that capitalism has to be the way we generate mass wealth in the coming century. … But the idea that it's not going to be married to a social compact, that how you distribute the benefits of capitalism isn't going to include everyone in the society to a reasonable extent, that's astonishing to me," Simon said.
"And that's what The Wire was about basically, it was about people who were worth less and who were no longer necessary, as maybe 10 or 15% of my country is no longer necessary to the operation of the economy."
Click on the video to watch Simon's hour-long discussion at the festival.