Meritocracy

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Raininginsanity
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 4:50 am

Meritocracy

Post by Raininginsanity » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:50 pm

Scott has posted two entries on Meritocracy:
http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/07/24/ta ... ritocracy/

http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/07/25/hi ... ritocracy/

I'm pretty sure I agree with him. If not meritocracy, then what? I don't see an alternative I would prefer.

phaedrus
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon May 08, 2017 4:01 pm

Re: Meritocracy

Post by phaedrus » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:08 am

I do think there's actual opposition to meritocracy.

Some of it comes from adopting a less individualistic or more communitarian outlook, as with the original objection. Meritocracy 'does right by' the successful individuals who are taken from the working class, flyover country, Iran, etc. -- but may harm the remaining members of those groups, especially in the case of brain drain. Needless to say, this objection isn't likely to be taken seriously in any circles that debate the merits of meritocracy.

Some of it just comes from Tom Wolfe novel politics. This seems to be a lot of what's going on now.

FWIW, I don't think tech is as meritocratic as its defenders say. Complex algorithms questions have less to do with day-to-day programming than with a computer science education, and reliance on "your Github speaking for yourself" gives an unfair advantage to people with the spare time and the capacity for motivation outside work to maintain an active Github. I know a lot of people who could be good programmers, but are unlikely to ever break into tech because they need to have a manager to do much of anything.

archon
Posts: 59
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 11:02 am

Re: Meritocracy

Post by archon » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:36 am

I agree with most of this stuff. In particular, what Scott said about upstream problems and downstream problems - I think lots of people have lots of issues, which they can't really blame on meritocracy, but will, because it looks kind of like that.

There is a interesting argument to be had about what is a good measure for merit.

And maybe, as Scott pointed out, whether people think meritocracy means rewarding past performance or optimising future performance. I generally mean the latter first, but both are important.

And yeah, as a person studying in a computer-science type degree, the "Github speaking for itself" thing has been a major source of stress for me.
"Don't be silly -- if we were meant to evolve naturally, why would God have given us subdermal implants?"

MarxBro

Re: Meritocracy

Post by MarxBro » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:03 am

I'm not against a meritocracy but a real meritocracy could only occur in a communist society.

Filly
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:47 am

Re: Meritocracy

Post by Filly » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:58 am

MarxBro wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:03 am
I'm not against a meritocracy but a real meritocracy could only occur in a communist society.
I don't think the "solution" to creating a meritocracy is necessarily dependent on the way a government distributes its finances or jobs, at least for Scott's version of "Each job should be filled by the applicant who will perform best in it". The obvious difficulties in my estimation are
A) creating useful measurements of success for given jobs,
B) creating tests that connect jobs to their most meritorious applicant,
C) getting citizens to abide by the tests even if they produce intuitively unfair results,
D) resolving order of fill if multiple jobs request the same applicant.
This formulation of meritocracy, that jobs are filled optimally, can be applied to any system that provides distinct jobs. It's not obviously tied to any particular government configuration, as long as that configuration isn't pure anarchy since that wouldn't provide distinct jobs.

cactus head
Posts: 19
Joined: Sat May 06, 2017 3:37 pm

Re: Meritocracy

Post by cactus head » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:22 am

To me, the most compelling argument against meritocracy I've heard is the brain-drain argument. I'm in the middle of reading The Bell Curve and a large part of the book concerns the point about IQ differences emerging in the various socioeconomic classes in the 20th century as university enrollment grew massively. But even that argument is not enough to make me think that it is a net bad instead of a net good. I think there's room to change my mind on this, and that if I read Murray's other books, that has a small chance of doing it.

If the brain-drain effect was important enough to make meritocracy a bad thing, I can't imagine what the solution would look like but I think it would be very far from stuff like diversity quota agitation that e.g. Github has to contend with.

keepsakewhales
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:38 am

Re: Meritocracy

Post by keepsakewhales » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:55 pm

Just ran across https://www.citylab.com/equity/2017/07/ ... r/535086/
“Students who are told that things are fair implode pretty quickly in middle school as self-doubt hits them,” he said, “and they begin to blame themselves for problems they can’t control.”

Barrett’s personal observation is validated by a newly published study in the peer-reviewed journal Child Development that finds traditionally marginalized youth who grew up believing in the American ideal that hard work and perseverance naturally lead to success show a decline in self-esteem and an increase in risky behaviors during their middle-school years. The research is considered the first evidence linking preteens’ emotional and behavioral outcomes to their belief in meritocracy, the widely held assertion that individual merit is always rewarded.

MarxBro

Re: Meritocracy

Post by MarxBro » Sat Jul 29, 2017 12:59 am

Filly wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:58 am
MarxBro wrote:
Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:03 am
I'm not against a meritocracy but a real meritocracy could only occur in a communist society.
I don't think the "solution" to creating a meritocracy is necessarily dependent on the way a government distributes its finances or jobs, at least for Scott's version of "Each job should be filled by the applicant who will perform best in it". The obvious difficulties in my estimation are
A) creating useful measurements of success for given jobs,
B) creating tests that connect jobs to their most meritorious applicant,
C) getting citizens to abide by the tests even if they produce intuitively unfair results,
D) resolving order of fill if multiple jobs request the same applicant.
This formulation of meritocracy, that jobs are filled optimally, can be applied to any system that provides distinct jobs. It's not obviously tied to any particular government configuration, as long as that configuration isn't pure anarchy since that wouldn't provide distinct jobs.
none of that stuff is going to happen under capitalism dude. not sure how you think capitalism works but it aint like that.

Raininginsanity
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 4:50 am

Re: Meritocracy

Post by Raininginsanity » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:31 pm

Barrett’s personal observation is validated by a newly published study in the peer-reviewed journal Child Development that finds traditionally marginalized youth who grew up believing in the American ideal that hard work and perseverance naturally lead to success show a decline in self-esteem and an increase in risky behaviors during their middle-school years. The research is considered the first evidence linking preteens’ emotional and behavioral outcomes to their belief in meritocracy, the widely held assertion that individual merit is always rewarded.
Nice find. That is interesting. I wonder if "growth mindset" is a confounding variable here.

MarxBro

Re: Meritocracy

Post by MarxBro » Sun Jul 30, 2017 2:39 am

i'm really not sure what the point of discussions of "meritocracy" are here since capitalism is not designed to be meritocratic. is this one of those rationalist "pipe dream" things? i really don't get it...

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