Friday, January 6, 2012

On Meritocracy [UPDATED]

UPDATE: This and this.

One of my many quixotic quests is to disabuse people of the insidious myth that this is the land of equal opportunity for all. It is such a preposterous, and destructive, lie.

Affluent families can literally buy a better résumé. “In a bad economy, the demographic shift has the potential to reinforce a socio-economic gap,” says Todd Breyfogle, who oversaw the honors program at the University of Denver and is now director of seminars at the Aspen Institute. “Only those families who can help their students be more competitive will have students who can get into elite institutions.”
Where you start has everything to do with where you end up. Sure, hard work matters to some extent, as does luck, but being born into privilege is far and away the most significant distinguishing factor. And, as the linked article asserts, the disparity increases in hard times like we're in.

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