Meritocracy’s fragility, continued.

Jake Blumgart, who conducted and wrote up the interview I linked to yesterday, takes issue with the following line in my post:

Take any of Hayes’ steps towards realising the present platitude that is meritocracy, and the logic would inescapably lead to the police storming bedrooms, making sure middle class parents weren’t giving their children a head start by reading them extra bed time stories.

I cleared it up with him on there, but just in case I failed to convey the sarcasm to anyone else, I thought I should clarify that I really don’t think that logic is inevitable. But it is, horrifyingly, the type of false dilemma libertarians like to present to us when defending free market mania: the only alternative is the USSR. Clearly we can limit wealth inequality within a capitalist framework. We already do. It’s called the welfare state. To make society fairer we’d just have to expand those checks. And that wouldn’t leave us in the hands of Stalin, however frightening and persuasive Milton Friedman may sound:


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