Believing in "meritocracy" makes you act like a dick

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/18/poes-law-for-oligarchs.html

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#2

That is somewhat to be expected as everyone likes to think the best of themselves. The part that bothers me is how many middle-class and working-class people got suckered into believing that all the billionaires somehow earned their station in life.

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#3

Meritocracy is to capitalism what the divine right of kings was to feudalism.

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#4

There are no poor or middle-class Americans: only failed billionaires, as the saying goes.

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#5

Make no mistake “capitalism” got us here, but the system we currently live under is feudalism.

  • Power and position are overwhelmingly decided by inheritance.
  • Ownership is overwhelmingly restricted to the elites.
  • Religion upholds the ruling party as long as it receives a cut.
  • Two laws operate, one for the underclasses, with harsh retibutivism, the other obsessed with civility between the elites and easy rehabilitation with a nominal show of piety.

Etc.

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#6

“merit” + “aristocracy” = “meritocracy”

Nope.

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#7

Capitalism doesn’t have any concept of noblesse oblige though

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#8

The pondscum rises to the top.

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#9

Just because this isn’t a meritocracy doesn’t mean that a meritocracy wouldn’t be a good thing.

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#10

Are you suggesting that Michael Young had something else in mind when he invented the word?

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#11

oddly - they’re exceptionally good at being dicks.

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#12

If only there was some way for people to leverage that dickishness with massive amounts of wealth, policy, and force ?

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#13

The thing i find weird about this term is that it is basically a lie. people are claiming things are meritocracies that are not actually systems of people or ideas of merit rising to the top… I almost can get behind the idea of a real meritocracy with the idea that merit was based on real value that our current system doesn’t always value (long term consequences, human lives and preservation of nature and resources). But maybe I’m getting into a “no true Scotsman” argument…

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#14

That’s true: another bullet point for feudalism I suppose:

  • Showy but insincere and inexpensive “concern” for those dominated (noblesse oblige)

In theory, capitalism also aggressively restricts inheritance through 100% estate taxes.

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#15

maybe we shouldn’t equate being mean with the male organ, considering many advocates of “meritocracy” are women like sheryl sandberg who “lean in” to blaming the poor for their predicaments

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#16

From Wiktionary: from Ancient Greek ἀριστοκρατίᾱ (aristokratíā, “the rule of the best”), from ἄριστος (áristos, “best, noblest”) + -κρατίᾱ (-kratíā), from κράτος (krátos, “power, rule”).

If he really did think that, why should I take the word of someone misguided enough not to know how his coinage actually worked?

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#17

Why is it nobody ever believes in meritocracy when they’re at the bottom of the heap?

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#18

Believing in “meritocracy” makes you act like a dick

This article, first posted by @Mindysan33, is well worth the read.

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#19

It doesn’t matter whether Young used the correct latin Greek roots when he coined the word, the point is that the meaning of the coinage was understood. It’s like calling someone a “Chocoholic” to indicate an insatiable desire to eat chocolate even though that’s an “addiction” that has nothing to do with alcohol.

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#20

Not so sure about that.

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