The following wind of privilege

“When the following wind of privilege is misread as merit, then the inequalities that result are legitimized.”

Sam Friedman RSA: Why it pays to be privileged

This quote succinctly captures why the meritocratic system is so damaging to society. It is one thing to claim that distributing resources based on merit is justified. But it must be understood that merit develops as a result of pre-existing conditions. We know from research on the development of expert performance that expertise should not be regarded as a genetically-predetermined condition in any but a handful of fields. Even the orientation toward the concept of expertise as a learned and practiced set of abilities is itself pre-conditioned by one’s family background. The playing field is not level, so opportunity is not equal. If opportunity is unequal distributing resources on the basis of differences between individuals that depend so heavily on htose pre-conditions is inherently unjust.

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About Alan Duncan
Ertswhile physician. Musician. Polymath. Language geek. French C2. Russian B2. Contact me here if you must.