Wednesday, November 09, 2011


A couple articles are asking whether it is a good thing.

The basic point is that if you are born into the bottom 1/5 of society in 1970, you had only a 17% chance of getting to the top 2/5 as an adult. And the scariest thing is that is doesn't necessarily have to do with pull or corruption, but merely "merit" and "hard work," as upper 2/5 parents impart these skills to their kids at a better rate than the lower 1/5. Point is - is meritocracy ruining opportunity?

But as I think Ross is saying, this overlooks a more important question, which is why the system went wrong. Don't tell me it got hostage to the wrong ideology--tell me why all those professors we paid millions of dollars to study economics couldn't provide a convincing rebuttal to that ideology in advance of the crash. Don't tell me that regulators were stupid or bankers got greedy until you first explain to me why tens of thousands of very well educated people, most of them graduates of colleges and professional schools that had aggressively winnowed them based on intelligence, barely outperformed a bunch of upstart micks, third-generation coupon-clipping WASP dimwits, and central bankers who still worshipped the barbarous relic of the gold standard?

Yeah, does anyone think the Tracy Flick's (Election) of the world should be running it? I don't.

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