Chris Hayes: Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy

A powerful and original argument that traces the roots of our present crisis of authority to an unlikely source: the meritocracy. Christopher Hayes says, “Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that had placed them near the very top. Their ascension heightened social distance and spawned a new American elite–one more prone to failure and corruption than any that came before it.”
Book: Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy by Christopher Hayes

Review by Aaron Swartz: Chris Hayes’ The Twilight of The Elites
Chris Hayes discusses his new book, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco

The term “Meritocracy” was coined by a British left-wing social critic named Michael Young in the 1950s.

Michael Young wrote a book called The Rise of the Meritocracy. This book is kind of in the vein of 1984 or Brave New World. It’s a dystopic work of social criticism about the future, in which he writes about a Britain in the future that manages to use intelligence testing and productivity testing inside firms to select out for the people who were the smartest and the hardest-working and have them run everything. Michael Young says in the book, tongue in cheek, “You know, we realize democracy can be no more than an aspiration, that we can’t have rule by the people, but rule by the cleverest people.” Later in his life, Young was horrified to find that this word, “meritocracy,” which he had intended as satire, had been adopted as an actual social model. In 2001, he writes in an op-ed in The Guardian, while Tony Blair is campaigning for New Labour on a vision of meritocracy, he’s saying, “No, no, no, no, no! I didn’t mean this as a model; I meant it as a critique and what an awful vision it would be of a society that didn’t take our egalitarian commitment seriously, that didn’t take democracy seriously, and instead decided to outsource the important decisions to people that were selected out for their brains or their other features.”
Source : Democracy Now

Michael Young wishes Tony Blair would stop using the term “Meritocracy”
Conversations w/Great Minds – Chris Hayes, Twilight of the Elites Part 1

Part 2



About benvitalis

math grad - Interest: Number theory
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