Daily Archives: February 6, 2020

** The Meritocracy Trap by Daniel Markovits

The Meritocracy Trap: How America’s Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite┬ámakes its points within the first few pages (indeed, one could argue, within its very title), so the main issue is that it continues for 300 pages! The other is that many anecdotes come from the august halls of Yale, where the author teaches, and one wonders how restricted a view that may be. And finally the arguments seem to repeat on a loop from one chapter to another. Get to the point, already.

Still, the arguments are strong and unsettling. What we call meritocracy is really a race to the top for richer parents, from which the vast majority of middle-income children, and virtually all low-income children, are excluded. The remedies proposed sadly occupy only a few pages. One is an interesting idea of restricting non-profit status for private universities that educate only high-income students, which seems totally possible since the government already knows where mid- and low-income students go to school. The proposal to create more middle-skilled jobs seems highly suspect in the global economy we live in…

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