Winners almost always start the game with huge advantages

While theoretically open to the best possible candidates, the competition for elite jobs is actually rigged.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: AP/TASR)

Aristocracy, plutocracy and kleptocracy are widely condemned as methods for organising society. But what about meritocracy?

On the surface, predicating success on effort and perceived merit looks like the best possible way to organise society. But it is actually driving many of the world’s most fundamental problems, Yale law professor Daniel Markovits argues in a new book, “The Meritocracy Trap”.

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As Markovits notes, more so than any time in history the best jobs (and the best pay) are now obtained through open competition. While the rich used to pass wealth down to their children through dynastic succession, and aristocrats hardly ever worked, as Markovits points out, today the rich and powerful almost all have jobs. In fact, many bankers, lawyers at global firms and CEOs work insane hours. They also increasingly earn huge hourly pay, and the combination of the two increasingly differentiating a new ruling class from the middle class.

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