3 Following

Intensely Focused

I'm not obsessed, I'm just intensely focued.

Currently reading

Home Improvement: Undead Edition
Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner
Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I
Arthur Conan Doyle
Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy - Christopher L. Hayes This book examines the problems with meritocracy. In this country we've decided we don't care about equality of outcome as long as we have equality of opportunity. However, as Hayes makes clear, you can ignore inequality of outcome only so long before it starts to make equality of opportunity impossible.

He examines the incentives for cheating in a variety of institutions including baseball, the finance industry and education. He also talks about whistle blowers and how difficult it is to come forward and how rarely they're listened to. Another theme is the distance between the ruling class and the governed and why it's such a large problem.

I thought his discussion of institultionalists (people who think the system can be reformed from the margins) and insurrectionists (people who think it needs to be demolished and rebuilt from the ground up) and how more institutionalists are becoming insurrectionists was interesting.

One of the things I found frustrating, however, was his discussion of perceived wealth (or was it income?) distribution versus actual distribution and ideal distribution. He doesn't give concrete numbers and I think that would have been helpful although not as helpful as the graph. See a 2010 graph here.

Unfortunately, after examining the many problems with meritocracy he doesn't offer much of a solution besides "more equality" which is achieved by taxing the wealthiest Americans. I agree that has to be a large part of the solution but I think it's only a part. I also question how willing people really are to tax the rich. They say they are, but when an income tax was proposed for only the wealthiest in my state it failed at the ballot box fairly overwhelmingly because people assumed that once the rich were taxed everyone else would be, too.