A smart, fun read with renewed relevance for anyone trying to make sense of the U.S. election and the broader appeal of populism right now.
Very well written and interesting. I do think it is stange that he never actually defines the term "meritocracy"-which I thik should have come in the first few pages. Nevertheless, I do think he does an excellent job at describing where we are as a society and how we got here. As for the future, he is probably more optimistic than I am-how long has it been since any of us have heard a news report with a reference to "Occupy Wall Street" in it?
The spectacle of a "Miritocracy" arising is wrong and this book dances around the situation without pointing out the truth - the "elite" are nothing like that, they're a clique of wealthy and powerful who use their connections to keep themselves and their family and associates in power. These "Supercriminals"are not elite at all(of all those CEOs and such who command shocking compensation and bonuses few indeed actually earned-or "merited"-them), they are just well-connected. The truth Mr Hayes dances around and doesn't mention is that the elite have figured out how to stay in power, and that's by subverting the Justice system(have you ever heard it called the "Just Us" system?) and controlling the media; Mr hayes doesn't mention it, and writed crap like this because he likes his job, and the idea of keeping it...now that he's a media personality we'll get to see him on Letterman, and maybe after that Howard Stern.
"the existing social order, a meritocracy geared to reward the best and the brightest, is doomed to failure." Where in perdition is this "order"? I've yet to come into contact with it? Is he talking about hereditarily connected political types like Timothy Geithner, Larry Summers, Diana Farrell, Robert Gates, Robert Mueller III, et al., which Bush, then Clinton, then Obama keeps reappointing? I'm not too sure about that premise of an "elite meritocracy" arising - - there's certainly nothing meritocratic about crooks and super-crooks, whether they thought up that "Prohibition" thingy (to corner the market on alcoholic products and smuggling), endless monopolies, or their many other nefarious crimes. Was John Boehner a winner, because he failed at almost everything he tried (washed out of US Navy boot camp in 1968, then falsely and fraudulently claimed military service during Vietnam when he first ran for the House of Representatives)? Or John McCain, who only could get into the Naval Academy due to the influence of his daddy, Admiral McCain. George W. Bush never succeeded at anything, except for being born in the "right family." You often hear the claims that superior grades and performance have little to do with financial success (true !) but you never hear the second part of the logic, that the greatest predictor of financial success in America (and many other countries and societies) is what family you are born into! A recent sociological study by a sociologist/statistician in Scotland reveals this sort of thing doesn't just exist for several generations, but goes back for hundreds and hundreds of years; many generations! The "myth of meritocracy" is certainly correct! (Hayes' record is none too impressive - - he was rewarded with his show on TV thanks to his covert kowtowing to Wall Street: writing a so-called debunking piece of trash, claiming that the NAFTA superhighway never existed - - against all the extant data from the Council on Foreign Relations' web site, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce web site, Cintra and the Macquarrie Group, etc. and the actual deepwater port built on the Pacific coast of Mexico - - clearly contradicts all of Hayes' lies.) How almost predictable that the author of those Horatio Alger stories turned out to be a pedophile.
Well thought out social critic.
An important book for our time. The social distance between those in charge and those they are supposed to lead has become so great that they have become simply tone-deaf to the needs of their subordinates. So long as Americans believe in the myth of meritocracy, that the average citizen has the same opportunities as the privileged to be a successful oligarch, there is little chance for equality to be high on their social agenda. The widespread loss of faith in institutions like government, schools, and churches means that the only authoritative voice is the one which gets the most media attention, regardless of its veracity.
up to page 103
This has what is appearting to be a common theme in other economic tomes as well. The current elites, or the rich, are the wrong people in authority. Meritocray does not exist, favouritism and privilege have wrecked North American economies.
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