« 'Sticky Prices and Behavioral Indifference Curves' | Main | Should the Fed be Forced to Follow a Rule? »

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Meritocracy won’t happen: the problem’s with the ‘ocracy’

Andrew Gelman:

Meritocracy won’t happen: the problem’s with the ‘ocracy’, by Andrew Gelman, Monkey Cage: I’ve written about this before but I think the topic is worth returning to, because it comes up a lot in our political discourse.

For example, consider this recent post by Robert Reich (link from Mark Thoma):

The “self-made” man or woman, the symbol of American meritocracy, is disappearing. Six of today’s ten wealthiest Americans are heirs to prominent fortunes. . . . We don’t have to sit by and watch our meritocracy be replaced by a permanent aristocracy . . .

I don’t disagree with Reich on the data..., the data seem to support Reich’s point that lots of rich people come from rich families.

But I want to dispute Reich’s other statement, which is that this is somehow contrary to the spirit of “meritocracy.”

I claim the opposite: that inherited privilege is an intrinsic and central aspect of meritocracy. ...

    Posted by on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 08:27 AM in Economics, Income Distribution | Permalink  Comments (205)


    Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.