Meritocracy is Flawed | #MyFridayStory No. 146

Meritocracy is Flawed | #MyFridayStory No. 146

“It encourages selfishness and discrimination, yet it continues to be instilled in the minds of many.”

For many years, meritocracy has been the pursuit of most governments and institutions. People from all walks of life have the belief that the rewards of life such as money, power, employment, and higher education, are gained through skill and effort. The metaphor of ‘an even playing field’ upon which every person can rise to the position that fits their merit. Meritocracy is presented as the opposite of when one’s social position is determined by the luck of birth.

“Under meritocracy, wealth and advantage are merit’s rightful compensation, not the fortuitous windfall of external events.”

In my experience, most people believe that hard work is essential for getting ahead. Most folks also agree that intelligence and skill should be rewarded. Most of these same people believe that external factors, such as luck, and coming from a privileged family, are much less important.

There is demonstrable proof that meritocracy is flawed. The link between luck and merit is unquestionable. Our talents and capacity for effort come down to genetics and upbringing. This merit translates into further success for the lucky ones. Please understand, there must be no mistake about the success and talents of hard-working folks, this is undeniable. But the vast majority of successful outcomes stem from initial merit.

Be ready for a hot debate when you speak of ‘luck’ when around someone who believes their effort alone – their intelligence, talent, and skill – brought them their success. The wealthy and powerful feel virtuous and worthy of their worldly status. And equally flawed, worldly failures are labelled as a personal defect, giving rise to the notion that those at the bottom of the social standing somehow deserve to be there and should stay there.

Recent research in psychology and neuroscience suggests a belief in meritocracy makes people more selfish, less self-critical, and more discriminatory.

Meritocracy tries to justify keeping the status quo. It suggests people belong where they happen to be in the social order.

Most people would indeed prefer to believe the world is just.

By contrast, folks that remembered the role that luck played in their successes were more generous.

They expressed their gratitude through increased generosity.

“Despite the moral assurance and personal flattery that meritocracy offers to the successful, it ought to be abandoned both as a belief about how the world works and as a general social ideal. It’s false, and believing in it encourages selfishness, discrimination, and indifference to the plight of the unfortunate.”

~ with special thanks to Clifton Mark

Have an awesome weekend and be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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