Targeting Meritocracy by Scott Alexander
Trigger warnings: – l’equivoco in cui cade chi attacca la meritocrazia – perché i campioni di scacchi non sono particolarmente intelligenti – imigliori a scuola e i migliori sul campo –
Prospect Magazine writes about the problem with meritocracy. First Things thinks meritocracy is killing America. Feminist Philosophers comes out against meritocracy. The Guardian says “down with meritocracy”. Vox calls for an atack on the false god of meritocracy. There’s even an Against Meritocracy book. Given that meritocracy seems almost tautologically good (doesn’t it just mean positions going to those who deserve them?), there sure do seem to be a lot of people against it.
ATTACCO ALLA MERITOCRAZIA
Their argument seems to be gesturing at the idea that elites send their kids to private schools, where they get all A+s and end up as president of the Junior Strivers Club. Then they go to Harvard and dazzle their professors with their sparkling wit and dapper suits. Then they get hired right out of college to high-paying management positions at Chase-Bear-Goldman-Sallie-Manhattan-Stearns-Sachs-Mae-FEDGOV. Then they eat truffle-flavored caviar all day and tell each other “Unlike past generations of elites, we are meritocrats who truly deserve our positions, on account of our merit”, as the poor gnash their teeth outside.
COSA INTENDONO PER MIRITOCRAZIA I SUOI NEMICI
There’s a weird assumption throughout all these articles, that meritocracy is founded on the belief that smart people deserve good jobs as a reward for being smart.
I reject meritocracy because I reject the idea of human deserts. I don’t believe that an individual’s material conditions should be determined by what he or she “deserves,”
The intuition behind meritocracy is this: if your life depends on a difficult surgery, would you prefer the hospital hire a surgeon who aced medical school, or a surgeon who had to complete remedial training to barely scrape by with a C-?…This has nothing to do with fairness, deserts, or anything else….
IL CONCETTO DI MERITOCRAZIA COME DOVREBBE ESSERE
The real solution to this problem is the one none of the anti-meritocracy articles dare suggest: accept that education and merit are two different things!
It’s that success in college only weakly correlates with success in the real world.
SCUOLA E MERITO
Ulysses Grant graduated in the bottom half of his West Point class, but turned out to be the only guy capable of matching General Lee and winning the Civil War after a bunch of superficially better-credentialed generals failed.
Remember that IQ correlates with chess talent at a modest r = 0.24, and chess champion Garry Kasparov has only a medium-high IQ of 135. If Kasparov’s educational success matched his IQ, he might or might not have made it into Harvard; he certainly wouldn’t have been their star student… Real meritocracy is what you get when you ignore the degrees and check who can actually win a chess game…
I don’t think the writers of the anti-meritocracy articles above really disagree with this. I think they’re probably using a different definition of meritocracy where it does mean “rule by well-educated people with prestigious credentials”.
We ought to reject the redefinition of “meritocracy” to mean “positions go to people based on their class and ability to go to Harvard”, and reclaim it as meaning exactly what we want instead – positions going to those who are best at them and can best use them to help others. Which is what we want.
RICONCILIARE LE POSIZIONI