Inequality and Credentialism

Dan Okimoto shared this essay with me recently by the brilliant Rana Foroohar:

“Meanwhile, members of the working class must judge themselves not by their own standards — in which traits of character, experience, common sense and grit are often as important as test-based intelligence — but by the standards of the meritocratic elite. Without the appropriate degrees, professional qualifications and opinions sanctioned by their educated overlords, they were all too often deemed unworthy — or as Hillary Clinton once put it in a quip that helped end her political career, ‘deplorables.’”

A few paragraphs down it points out how Trump in 2016 after declaring election victory commented, “I love the poorly educated.”

“… college-educated respondents actually have more bias against less-educated people than they do against other disfavoured groups”

And on the Clinton era:

“Despite Bill Clinton’s much heralded ability to ‘feel’ our pain, many of his initiatives as US president — trade deals that hollowed out parts of the rustbelt; tax and financial policies that benefited those who made their money from investments rather than income — were crafted by technocrats who worked at an algorithmic remove from the lives of real people.

Foroohar’s article does an incredible job of using an intellectual lens to debunk the power of “being smart” as actually being toxic.

Books to read one day: Head, Hand, Heart: The Struggle for Dignity and Status in the 21st Century, by David Goodhart, Allen Lane / The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good? by Michael Sandel, Farrar, Straus and Giroux / The Crisis of the Meritocracy: Britain’s Transition to Mass Education Since the Second World War, by Peter Mandler