Tuesday, 19 June 2012

While the dryer runs...

Did not go back to bed after popping my morning antibiotic. Instead, I ran the washer and read this article "Why elites fail" by Christopher Hayes. The following is an assemble of quotes from the article, which are together pretty disturbing.

The Principle of Difference: holds that there is vast differentiation among people in their ability and that we should embrace this natural hierarchy and set ourselves the challenge of matching the hardest-working and most talented to the most difficult, important and remunerative tasks.

The Principle of Mobility: Over time, society will have mechanisms that act as a sort of pump, constantly ensuring that the talented and hard-working are propelled upward, while the mediocre trickle downward.

The Iron Law of Meritocracy: states that eventually the inequality produced by a meritocratic system will grow large enough to subvert the mechanisms of mobility. The Principle of Difference will come to overwhelm the Principle of Mobility. Those who are able to climb up the ladder will find ways to pull it up after them, or to selectively lower it down to allow their friends, allies and kin to scramble up. In other words: “Who says meritocracy says oligarchy.”


I believe in meritocracy because without it, I won't be here. So it is depressing to think that kids today who come from a similar background as me and who have the ability may not have the opportunity to climb up. At the same time, as a parent-to-be, I also want to make sure that I can help my children succeed if they do not turn out like their parents! Something to mull over...

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