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 Message Boards » » Meritocracy is a myth Page [1]  
adultswim
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https://www.currentaffairs.org/2018/04/stray-thoughts-meritocracy-racist-cartoons-betsy-devos-leftist-lincoln

Quote :
"James Flynn’s book How To Defend Humane Ideals contains the most succinct explanation I’ve seen for why the idea of a “meritocracy” is incoherent and impossible. Flynn’s argument is: “(1) Allocating rewards irrespective of merit is a prerequisite for meritocracy, otherwise environments cannot be equalized (2) allocating rewards according to merit is a prerequisite for meritocracy, otherwise people cannot be stratified by wealth and status (3) therefore a class-stratified meritocracy is impossible.” In other words: in a meritocracy, status, wealth, and privilege are given to those who have “earned” their position through merit, meaning that everyone had an “equal opportunity” even if they did not reach an equal outcome. But if status, wealth, and privilege are unequally distributed, people can never have equal opportunities, meaning that rewards will never be assigned on the basis of merit. There can be no such thing as a “meritocracy” in which there are inequalities in power, wealth, and status across classes, because people’s environments will be unequal, therefore they will not start with equal resources and the resulting unequal outcomes will not reflect differences in individual merit. This argument is so simple and obvious that it feels pedantic to explain it. But there is still widespread acceptance of the idea that “wealth/status inequality is okay as long as there is equal opportunity,” even though it is conceptually incoherent in a very basic way."

10/11/2018 6:23:59 PM

titans78
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Quote :
"This argument is so simple and obvious"

10/11/2018 8:09:58 PM

adultswim
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Not for most of the US

10/11/2018 8:14:38 PM

LoneSnark
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This is exactly true. So what?

10/12/2018 10:18:04 AM

adultswim
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How do you propose we fix the problem?

10/12/2018 10:52:39 AM

TerdFerguson
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Argument in the OP is pretty airtight, but it’s also the absolute most strict definition of a meritocracy I’ve ever seen.

Achieving Absolute 100% equality of opportunity and circumstances?

Why not loosen the definition to something more like “the state provides a base state of opportunity and means coupled with a societal worldview change that abhors elitism.”

Suddenly it’s achievable and many would agree it’s a direction we should move toward. It seems like the strict definition is an effort to ignore a good idea because it’s not perfectly achievable.

10/12/2018 7:01:36 PM

BridgetSPK
#1 Sir Purr Fan
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https://jacobinmag.com/2018/09/brett-kavanaugh-banality-elites-meritocracy

10/12/2018 10:15:04 PM

BridgetSPK
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^^,^^^^
Quote :
"The guys like Brett Kavanaugh who run the show have no special qualities or insights that should oblige us to put up with their bullshit. They would hate for us to realize that."


Why are you weirdos so eager for these guys to ass rape us in front of our moms?

10/12/2018 10:17:07 PM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"How do you propose we fix the problem?"

Is it a problem? We have a long list of very real problems to deal with. Making our society resemble the impossible definition you're using for "Meritocracy" is most certainly not one of them.

10/12/2018 10:57:28 PM

adultswim
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So you're basically admitting you're a white supremacist, then.

10/12/2018 11:32:25 PM

Dentaldamn
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Is this a real conversation or are you an ad hominem bot?

Fixing this problem would start with destroying the world economy. All major civilizations on the planet function in a way that provides praise for no real reason other than luck and chance. Everyone on this board exist in a world built on positive circumstance.

10/13/2018 12:29:39 AM

adultswim
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The point of this thought exercise is not to suggest that 100% equality is a current or even future solution. It's just to explain that immense inequality can not be solved by "equal opportunity" alone.

[Edited on October 13, 2018 at 1:07 AM. Reason : .]

10/13/2018 12:48:54 AM

Dentaldamn
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Ok?

Most people on the planet don’t care about equality in any sense of the word. How do you propose we fix that?

10/13/2018 7:30:31 AM

LoneSnark
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^ call them "white supremacist", apparently.

10/13/2018 10:55:13 AM

adultswim
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I mean, you are, or you at least indirectly support it. You recognize the flaws of our inherently white supremacist meritocracy, but you don't believe in fixing them.

Quote :
"Most people on the planet don’t care about equality in any sense of the word. How do you propose we fix that?"


Nah, I think most people do. They're just being fed a flawed concept of equality. Hence the anti-affirmative action, all lives matter type crowds.

10/13/2018 11:32:53 AM

Dentaldamn
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I’m speaking about the population of earth. Not specially the USA. So talking about all lives matter is pointless.

Are you focusing only on the USA in your “thought experiment”?

10/13/2018 12:53:18 PM

adultswim
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It’s a problem all over the world, but I thought it was clear this is targeted at the country that jerks itself off over being a meritocracy, my b.

10/13/2018 5:39:18 PM

Dentaldamn
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You got a citation for that claim?

10/13/2018 7:12:11 PM

adultswim
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I'd rather focus on the US to be honest. What about this topic offends you so much?

10/13/2018 7:34:40 PM

Dentaldamn
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The claim that people think the USA is a Meritocracy. I’d like to see something to prove people claim this.

10/13/2018 10:35:51 PM

adultswim
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You want me to prove that people believe the US is a meritocracy? For real?

Here's an excellent related article by Naomi Klein:

https://theintercept.com/2018/10/10/donald-trump-inherited-wealth/

10/14/2018 6:04:31 PM

Dentaldamn
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Well...yes. Bc I disagree the majority of people think we live in a meritocracy.

10/14/2018 9:25:58 PM

theDuke866
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Quote :
"So you're basically admitting you're a white supremacist, then."


holy fuck, salisburyleftist, haven't we already been over this?

[Edited on October 15, 2018 at 12:32 AM. Reason : ]

10/15/2018 12:31:50 AM

adultswim
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It's tough to hear that you're complicit in white supremacy, but the idea is nothing new.

Quote :
"If you are the son of a man who had a wealthy estate and you inherit your father's estate, you have to pay off the debts that your father incurred before he died. The only reason that the present generation of white Americans are in a position of economic strength...is because their fathers worked our fathers for over 400 years with no pay...We were sold from plantation to plantation like you sell a horse, or a cow, or a chicken, or a bushel of wheat...All that money...is what gives the present generation of American whites the ability to walk around the earth with their chest out...like they have some kind of economic ingenuity. Your father isn't here to pay. My father isn't here to collect. But I'm here to collect and you're here to pay."


-Malcolm X

10/15/2018 10:54:38 AM

rjrumfel
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^I know you know better, but you make is sound like you think every white person south of Maryland owned slaves.

Perhaps if you applied that argument to descendants of the one percenters, then it might make sense.

10/15/2018 11:06:48 AM

adultswim
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Wealthy families have absolutely benefited more and should be held most responsible. But white people have still benefited collectively. That's how systemic racism works.

10/15/2018 11:09:23 AM

rjrumfel
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As I tried to argue in the other thread about this, you're not going to get anyone on your side be calling them white supremacist. That word brings to mind too many awful things, like American History X. You're wasting your time if you just call people that right off the bat.

10/15/2018 11:16:08 AM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"If you are the son of a man who had a wealthy estate and you inherit your father's estate, you have to pay off the debts that your father incurred before he died."

This is factually untrue. I would have thought Malcolm X would have been more legally informed. Assets transfer between generations, debts do not. If my wealthy father owed $10 million dollars to various creditors, I will never pay one cent of that. They may take his entire estate and yet more debt remain, but his debts are never my own.

Quote :
"The only reason that the present generation of white Americans are in a position of economic strength...is because their fathers worked our fathers for over 400 years with no pay"

And this is similarly bullshit. We today cannot eat the corn grown 400 years ago. All we today can benefit from is the fixed goods they left us: technology developed, knowledge gained, railroads built, canals built, structures like that. Meanwhile, the productivity of 18th and 19th century slaves was fairly low by even the standards of the time. And mostly limited to production of short term goods (food, cotton, wood housing, Washington Monuments, etc) due to restrictions against education, nearly all of which has rotten away by now. Had they at the time instead been educated and allowed to seek their most productive professions, then we today would have benefited more from the inventions, entrepreneurship, and industrialization they could created than we have in any way from corn we cannot eat and cotton we cannot wear.

It is my belief that Americans today would be far richer were it not for Slavery. Not only that, but the non-slave Americans at the time would have similarly benefited as well from boosted productivity at the time. But, the people at the time were stupid, as apparently Malcolm X and adultswim are in their time, seeing as they too somehow believe Slavery has somehow been a boost to future productivity.

[Edited on October 15, 2018 at 3:55 PM. Reason : .,.]

10/15/2018 3:49:53 PM

dtownral
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Quote :
"This is factually untrue. I would have thought Malcolm X would have been more legally informed. Assets transfer between generations, debts do not. If my wealthy father owed $10 million dollars to various creditors, I will never pay one cent of that. They may take his entire estate and yet more debt remain, but his debts are never my own. "

wow, way to miss the point of what he wrote (that black people now are owed because of the unpaid labor of their fathers) and also to misread it literally (if your wealthy father owed $10M the estate pays for that first before you see anything, which doesn't contract the literal version of what he wrote)

and holy fuck at your "we don't owe them anything for their slave labor because we would be richer if they were more productive" argument

10/15/2018 4:01:52 PM

LoneSnark
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Who are you quoting? Certainly not me, my statements made no position on whether anyone was owed anything. My assault was upon the assertion that "The only reason that the present generation of white Americans are in a position of economic strength...is because their fathers worked our fathers for over 400 years with no pay". Malcolm X, and adultswim by quoting him, asserted they somehow were, without addressing how that could be true, when it seems obviously untrue to me. America would be a far better economic position today had Americans hundreds of years ago been more educated and more productive, two things which were severely dampened by the institutions of Slavery.

[Edited on October 15, 2018 at 4:26 PM. Reason : .,.]

10/15/2018 4:16:24 PM

dtownral
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malcom x's claim is about inequality, it's about the unmatched wealth that white people have because black people spent their times as slaves working for the white people but not getting paid for it. how have you made multiple replies but missed this basic point?

10/15/2018 4:34:21 PM

adultswim
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Quote :
"Not only that, but the non-slave Americans at the time would have similarly benefited as well from boosted productivity at the time. But, the people at the time were stupid, as apparently Malcolm X and adultswim are in their time, seeing as they too somehow believe Slavery has somehow been a boost to future productivity."


No, the point is that it gave white people an enormous leg-up over black people that still exists to this day because people believe meritocracy (which we don't actually have) is an equalizer and are against any true equalizing measures (reparations, estate taxes, etc).

And although white people in general have a leg up over minorities, working class whites are also massively disadvantaged vs. rich whites due to this generational transfer of wealth/privilege.

[Edited on October 15, 2018 at 4:55 PM. Reason : .]

10/15/2018 4:47:05 PM

LoneSnark
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How does "people believ(ing) meritocracy is an equalizer" result in "(giving) white people an enormous leg-up over black people"? One does not cause the other. Any subset of the population being hamstrung by history and therefore less productive just results in the rest of society being similarly less productive. I guess you just mean relatively? White people are poorer, yes, but black people are even more poorer and so white people have a leg up over them? I don't see why we should care about relative impoverishment. All we should really care about is that we're all poorer than we could be.

10/15/2018 4:57:11 PM

adultswim
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Quote :
"How does "people believ(ing) meritocracy is an equalizer" result in "(giving) white people an enormous leg-up over black people"?"


Slavery and racism did that, the idea of meritocracy allows it to continue.

Quote :
"All we should really care about is that we're all poorer than we could be."


Ahh you're so close!

[Edited on October 15, 2018 at 4:59 PM. Reason : .]

10/15/2018 4:58:58 PM

LoneSnark
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Quote :
"Slavery and racism did that, the idea of meritocracy allows it to continue."

But I know this not to be true. Slavery and racism did that, and still do that to this day, especially when compounded by government policies designed to keep the poor poor. Some idea of meritocracy has nearly no effect as far as I can figure. It isn't some belief in meritocracy which keeps state run and unionized education systems in place when we can see such systems consistently fail those that most need them. We need school choice in education, and that means vouchers for privately run schools. This would be meritocracy. What we get instead is basic public sector graft and corruption.

[Edited on October 15, 2018 at 5:14 PM. Reason : .,.]

10/15/2018 5:13:41 PM

adultswim
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The American Dream is what keeps the right wing alive (including most Democrats, btw). They do believe in fairness, for the most part, but their idea of fairness consists of creating an "even" playing field without taking into account the build-up of past oppression.

School choice would just further entrench the problem, because people with the means & money will choose the better schools in better areas, and poorer areas will, like always, be stuck with scraps.

10/15/2018 5:28:07 PM

LoneSnark
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As it is, the Rich already have school choice. With vouchers, they would finally have a choice between schools. If the current school provider sucks, a new one can open up across the street and drive them out of business. Unlike today, where they have to take whatever the state-run monopoly gives them, otherwise known as "scraps".

10/15/2018 7:14:21 PM

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