Meritocracy is a marketing gimmick. Just like “New & Improved” is a marketing gimmick.
This one’s called “Nothing Sells Like Success.” This marketing slogan helps the Harvard MBA and JD crowd sleep at night.
Ethics and real philosophical debate are not allowed at MBA school.
Ain’t allowed in Congress either.
So instead of ethics and morality, the Mark Zuckerberg and Jared Kushner types try to fill the gaping hole with “Meritocracy,” which is the Land of Make Believe principle Americans believe in instead of any of that silly religious stuff, such as “Love Thy Neighbor as Thy Self.”
Instead, we get a Prosperity Gospel tautology, which goes like this:
People like Donald Trump are rich because God loves them. How do we know God loves them?
Because they are rich, stupid. If they didn’t deserve to be rich, then God wouldn’t reward them so, now would He?
^ This ^ is the sound the sheep makes as it’s being fleeced, isn’t it?
In the old days, they called this the Divine Right of Kings when someone’s family was just “The Best,” end of discussion, didn’t they?
They called it Manifest Destiny when White Protestant men took stuff from “The Heathens,” better known as people colored red, yellow, and black, and killed them for their blasphemy, didn’t they?
Damn right they did!
Today, we call this myth “Meritocracy.”
It’s still the same marketing scam, they’ve just “New & Improved” what they call it. Again.
In case you’re wondering, its real name is Mammon.
~ O Society
The college admissions scandal in the US is another reminder wealth, not talent, is what determines the opportunities we all have in life
The US college admissions scandal is fascinating, if not surprising. Over 30 wealthy parents are criminally charged over a scheme in which they allegedly paid a company large sums of money to get their children into top universities. The duplicity involved is extreme: everything from paying off university officials to inventing learning disabilities to facilitate cheating on standardized tests. One father even faked a photo of his son pole vaulting in order to convince admissions officers the boy is a star athlete.
It’s no secret wealthy people will do nearly anything to get their kids into good schools. But this scandal only begins to reveal the lies that sustain the American idea of meritocracy. William “Rick” Singer, who admitted to orchestrating the scam, explains there are three ways in which a student can get into the college of their choice:
“There is a front door which is you get in on your own. The back door is through institutional advancement, which is 10 times as much money. And I’ve created this side door.”
The “side door” he’s referring to is outright crime, literally paying bribes and faking test scores. It’s impossible to know how common this is, but there’s reason to suspect it’s comparatively rare. Why? Because for the most part, the wealthy don’t need to pay illegal bribes. They can pay perfectly legal ones.
Because Harvard lawyers make the legislation, which allows their corruption and bribery to be legalized in their law books
In his 2006 book The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges, Daniel Golden exposes the way the top schools favor donors and the children of alumni. A Duke admissions officer recalls being given being given a box of applications she intended to reject, which were returned to her for “special” reconsideration.
In cases where parents are expected to give very large donations upon a student’s admission, the applicant may be described as an “institutional development” candidate, because letting them in would help “develop” the institution financially. Everyone by now is familiar with the way the Kushner family bought little Jared a place at Harvard. It only took $2,500,000 to convince the school Kushner is Harvard material.
The inequality goes so much deeper. It’s not just donations to put the wealthy ahead. Children of the top 1% (and the top 5%, and the top 20%) spend their entire lives accumulating advantages over their counterparts at the bottom. Even in first grade the differences can be stark: compare the learning environment at one of Detroit’s crumbling public elementary schools to a private elementary school that costs tens of thousands of dollars a year. There are high schools, such as Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, with billion-dollar endowments. Around the country, the level of education you receive depends entirely upon how much money your parents have.
Even if we equalize public school funding, and abolish private schools, some children will be far more “equal” than others. Two and a half million children in the United States go through homelessness every year in this country. The chaotic living situation that comes with poverty makes it much, much harder to succeed.
This means even those who go through Singer’s “front door” have not “gotten in on their own.” They’ve gotten in partly because they’ve had the good fortune to have a home life conducive to their own success.
People often speak about “equality of opportunity” as the American aspiration. But having anything close to equal opportunity would require a radical re-engineering of society from top to bottom. As long as there are large wealth inequalities, there will be colossal differences in the opportunities children have due to no fault or merit of their own. No matter what admissions criteria are set, wealthy children will have the advantage.
If admissions officers focus on test scores, parents will pay for extra tutoring and test prep courses. If officers focus instead on “holistic” qualities, pare. It’s simple: wealth always confers greater capacity to give your children the edge over other people’s children. Because you can pay to have the goalposts moved, widened, or narrowed; all depends on who you want getting in.
If we wanted anything resembling a “meritocracy,” we would probably have to start by instituting full egalitarian communism to begin tabula rasa.
In reality, there can be never be such thing as a meritocracy, because there’s never going to be fully equal opportunity.
Hence, the main function of the concept is to assure rich people they actually deserve their position in life. It eases the “anxiety of affluence,” a nagging feeling they might be the beneficiaries of an arbitrary “birth lottery” rather than the products of their own individual ingenuity and hard work.
There’s something perverse about the whole competitive college system. But we can imagine a different world. If everyone is guaranteed free, high-quality public university education, and a public school education matched the quality of a private school education, there wouldn’t be anything to compete for.
Instead of the farce of the admissions process, by which students have to jump through a series of needless hoops in order to prove themselves worthy of being given a good education, just admit everyone who meets a clearly-established threshold for what it takes to do the coursework. It’s not as if the current system is selecting for intelligence or merit.
The school you went to mostly tells us what economic class your parents were in. But it doesn’t have to be that way.