Meritocracy is a myth

On a related topic, I’m going to be lazy and refer to a post by Elisa Camahort from last fall (this is lazy because I agree with her and it’s easier to quote what she said than give my own version, which would use different words but have the same content).

I have worked in several industries in my checkered past, and I have yet to work in one, blogosphere included, where it was only the best and brightest who rose to the top while the less talented and less skilled were kept back. This was true when I was in the arts; it was true in high tech; it’s true in blogging.

Now, I can understand why people who are already at the top would love to believe they got there on pure merit. And I can understand why other people would also like to believe talent will win in the end. Believe me, I did my time living in New York being a starving artist…I really really wanted to believe it was a meritocracy. Because you have some measure of control over your own output right?

… In the real world many factors contribute to one’s success and failure. If you care about amplifying your voice, extending your reach, persuading the masses to share your political opinions, then trying to improve in all of those areas is smart. … If you want to have anything that really resembles a meritocracy, then you better thoroughly examine and, if necessary, pull down, those who would present themselves as superior authorities.

[That’s just a part of what she said, and not the whole context, so you should go read her whole post. I tried to not alter the meaning of her words with my excerpt.]

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