The myth and dark side of meritocracy

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Is meritocracy based largely on luck? How much does education actually play a role? Illustration courtesy of Yale Insights, Yale School of Management.

Most people say merit-based success is the result most say of hard work and dedication. Those who achieve success typically enjoy the rewards: a better income, praise and recognition. Less talked about is the role of luck — like a natural born talent or timing and class. How do we reckon with a meritocratic society that is actually heavily stacked against those who are less fortunate? Could the current pandemic provide an opportunity to truly reevaluate the dignity of the essential worker?

And in today’s society, if you want to compete and win in the global economy you need to go to college, but is the mantra “education, education, educationmisplaced? Does a college degree further divide Americans into winners and losers?



Andrea Brody