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Egalitarian society v meritocratic order

(16 Posts)
thatbags Fri 06-May-16 06:34:08

In which James Bloodworth argues in favour of egalitarianism rather than a meritocracy.

"A more egalitarian society would ensure that everyone could live well, whereas a meritocratic order would constantly remind those at the bottom of their inferiority. The next time a politician stands up and evokes meritocracy and equality of opportunity, bear this in mind".

See article link for more.

absent Fri 06-May-16 07:05:54

I've been saying this for years – and boring people stupid. As soon as one group thinks it is generally "entitled" because it is "special" and should, therefore, stay on top, then another group is relegated because it isn't and should stay on the bottom.

It stinks and was never meant to be a formula when the word "meritocracy" was sardonically invented.

Eloethan Fri 06-May-16 11:06:43

It seems to me that, even if you believed in the notion of a meritocracy, it would be awfully difficult to establish whether people have "succeeded" entirely on their own merit or because of other factors. Those that don't like the idea of egalitarianism tend to argue that we already have a meritocracy because it is the people of ability who naturally rise to the top,, and that those people's contributions are of greater value than anyone else's.

I've been reading George Monbiot's book "How did we get into this mess?" and he makes the point: "even when outcomes are based on talent and hard work, they don't stay that way for long. Once the first generation of liberated entrepreneurs has made its money, the initial meritocracy is replaced by a new elite, who insulate their children from competition by inheritance and the best education money can buy."

He goes on to suggest that if innate ability and hard work are or should be the sole preconditions for success, then those who espouse such a notion should not try to load the dice in favour of their own children.

In any event, I think the idea of "success" and "value" is very much a subjective judgment. Is a job necessarily of more value to society because it is well paid and of high status, and should "success" be seen merely in those terms? My view is that a society that respects people equally, treats them decently and which values everyone's contribution will, in the long run, be a happier and healthier one.

whitewave Fri 06-May-16 11:40:45

That book is on my wish list eloethan

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-May-16 13:02:45

So what are people supposed to do with any earned wealth that might be in their possession when they die? Give it to the Cown, or donate all of it to charity? Get real! It wouldn't be fair, to start off with.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-May-16 13:08:58

Of course "innate ability" and hard work will always be conditions for success. What other way to success is there? Those not blessed with quite so much innate ability can still succeed. Perhaps In a different field, and maybe even to a lesser extent, but the fact is, we are not all born equal brain-power wise.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-May-16 13:09:37

with NOT quite so much

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-May-16 13:10:06

Still wrong

Sod it

Need lunch

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-May-16 13:12:35

Quoting Eloethan*. "My view is that a society that respects people equally, treats them decently and which values everyone's contribution will, in the long run, be a happier and healthier one."

To a large extent that is happening in our society today.

Eloethan Fri 06-May-16 17:54:19

jingle It may be the case that exceptional individuals will attain high office despite having a fairly ordinary background and education. However, the Sutton Trust carried out research and found that although only 7% of Britons have are privately educated, they are disproportionately represented within the UK's professional elites:

30% of MPs
75% of High Court Judges
50%+ medical professionals
75% top military officers
50%+ top civil servants
75% lawyers

The Sutton Trust research suggested that "these [privately educated] students often have the social skills and advantages - from higher aspiration and extra-curricular opportunities, to easier access to professional networks - that precipitate career success".

Do you really believe that every working person is treated with equal respect and decency? I don't see how that can be the case when the figures show that the pay of the top 100 FTSE officers is an average of 130 times more than that of their employees. For instance, Martin Sorrell earns £70 million per annum as CEO of WPP - an advertising company. Contrast that with the average earnings of, for example, teaching assistants (around £12,000 p.a.), Residential Care workers (around £13,000 p.a.), and other people who are doing vitally important jobs. With the average rent across the country now standing at £900 per month (and in London at £1,300 per month), I can't see how people on those sorts of wages can be described as being treated fairly or decently.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-May-16 18:29:09

I don't think you can compare the pay of a teaching assistant with that of someone like Martin Sorrel! Horses for courses?

I don't think the high flyers are necessarily always worth the salaries and bonuses they get, but more of them get their hands slapped these days for being too greedy. The investors see to that.

Did these 'top' people really get where they are because they had a private education? Probably not. We may not have the grammar schools anymore, or at least not so many, but our education system still offers good life chances to those with the brain power, and the determination, to take advantage of it.

obieone Fri 06-May-16 19:13:52

I dont agree with the first sentence of the link, so found it difficult to move on from there.
People do go from being shelf stackers to higher places.

To me, a lot of it comes from having brains.

Yes it is a lot harder if you come from a poor background, but we all know that that doesnt mean that the person does not have brainpower.

Jalima Fri 06-May-16 19:23:05

So what are people supposed to do with any earned wealth that might be in their possession when they die? Give it to the Cown, or donate all of it to charity? Get real! It wouldn't be fair, to start off with.
It was suggested on another thread that anything left in an estate should go to the government.

Those not blessed with quite so much innate ability can still succeed. Perhaps In a different field, and maybe even to a lesser extent, but the fact is, we are not all born equal brain-power wise
To me, a lot of it comes from having brains

Drive, ambition and taking advantage of any opportunities also go a long way to becoming successful; it is not all down to intellectual ability and academic qualifications.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-May-16 20:32:17

shock Well, I intend to spend mine ours. All of it.

Jalima Fri 06-May-16 21:15:38

That means spending then having a nil balance at the end of each day - and re-mortgaging the house and spending that too .... just in case hmm
it's called ski-ing
spending the kids' inheritance
or sgi-ing
the government's in that case

obieone Fri 06-May-16 21:23:30

True Jalima 19.23pm