"But the Iron Law of Meritocracy makes a different prediction: that societies ordered around the meritocratic ideal will produce inequality without the attendant mobility."
Why Elites Fail | The Nation
What fail our elites are female IT executives.
Last edited by Sion; 12th June 2012 at 08:03 PM.
it's not the concept of meritocracy that has failed, it's the application of meritocracy...
from the article:
"But the problem with my alma mater is that over time, the mechanisms of meritocracy have broken down. In 1995, when I was a student at Hunter, the student body was 12 percent black and 6 percent Hispanic. Not coincidentally, there was no test-prep industry for the Hunter entrance exam. Thatís no longer the case. Now, so-called cram schools like Elite Academy in Queens can charge thousands of dollars for after-school and weekend courses where sixth graders memorize vocabulary words and learn advanced math. Meanwhile, in the wealthier precincts of Manhattan, parents can hire $90-an-hour private tutors for one-on-one sessions with their children."
fairness however is a different problem, because the financially/socially disadvantaged people are stuck in a system that makes them less socially mobile.
The problem lies in human tendency to preserve wealth.. or advantage.
Simply put, people born in a well to do family have a head start from those who doesn't.
I think one of the solution is to facilitate the less fortunate to access education.. healthcare, etc.. so they can have better competency in society.
To summarize it - meritocracy lies firmly on the basis on unequal outcomes - you reward the people based on merit, and people are not equal, so there are unequal outcomes. The caveat is that everyone gets equal opportunities and this should balance out the unequal outcomes eventually since the argument goes, "If I am poor, I still get an opportunity to become rich as long as I am able".
The article argues that the moment unequal outcomes are awarded rigidly, the balance of equal opportunities is thrown off, since there will be aids such as tuition, preparatory tests which will benefit the people who had benefited from the unequal outcomes. The takeaway for me is that there is a need to ensure that the equal opportunities remain as they are to achieve the end goals of meritocracy. Afraid the article does not really discuss how this can be done though.
Nowadays in Singapore we even have tests that train you to enter the Gifted Education programme... How well they work is a question of course.
When I reread the article. I think one of the point the author want to made is that meritocracy.. or intelligence alone will not shape the society to be a better place.
Meritocracy is only the rule of the game, but the reward can vary, for most people, its money or influence. I would think ethics and morals should be embedded in both the rule and reward. If only the elites practice selflessness / altruism, the world would be a better place. We need more people like Gates and Buffet. Not Steve Jobs..who adapted to the new environment with the most agility and creativity, who tried out novel ways of operating and got away with them, and sometimes were the most ethically challenged, were most rewarded with influence
Sadly a lot of people in this modern age has abandoned them in the name of freedom.. and/or moral relativism.
Fuel for the fire...
DEAR AMERICA: You Should Be Mad As Hell About This [CHARTS] - Business Insider
and closer to home...
Last edited by UncleFai; 14th June 2012 at 04:33 PM.