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When China was uniformly poor, one set of policies dictated from the center could fit all. But what if the corrupt are playing for themselves? In a democracy, the incentives are structured such that even an attorney general interested only in self-advancement can nonetheless serve the public good by tackling corruption in the pursuit of votes. Moreover, there is little discussion of the conflicted relationship the CCP has with the press — often treated as a useful check on abuses of power at a lower level, but as a threat at higher levels.

These are just some of the omissions that give the unmistakable sense that Bell has subjected himself to a high degree of self-censorship. His acknowledgment that even what he has chosen to write would be subject to extensive censorship is a commentary on the tightening in academic freedoms in recent years, and raises questions about whether what he has written reflects his entire view. By contrast, Western governments and companies are learning from China without sacrificing their democratic character.

Democracies are taking a longer-term perspective by embracing old ideas such as infrastructure banks with new enthusiasm. The debate The China Model provokes is not how the state is run, but for what purpose. It is a classic argument between limited and maximalist government written in metonym. Bell makes much of the fact that someone with the limited pre-presidential experience of President Obama could never rise to the top in China.

But that proves little, if anything. The losses to society had those individuals been able to exercise their talents elsewhere are immeasurable. But for those who need to understand the complex ideological challenges to democracy in the post-Cold War era, there is nonetheless value in reading The China Model.

His email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The people on the street were not the actors but the spectators of history. But the nature of this dependency has changed. In post-crisis Europe we are witnessing the rise of a strange division of labor between voters and markets when it comes to the work of governments.

Is Meritocracy Making Everyone Miserable?

In the heated debate in Europe today about the future institutional architecture of the Euro-zone, it is clear that the new rules will additionally constrain the ability of voters to influence economic decision-making. Simply put, markets want to be confident that voters will not make foolish decisions. Silvio Berlusconi, because the more policy makers try to deprive the voters of the possibility to make mistakes the more voters are incentivized to vote wild.

In social psychologist Walter Mischel came up with a groundbreaking experiment to understand what explains success in life. The experiment was misleadingly simple.

Meritocracy Archives - The Young Foundation

A marshmallow was offered to every child at the Bing Nursery School on the campus of Stanford University. If the child resisted eating the marshmallow for a certain period of time he was promised two instead of one. The ability to withstand downing the marshmallow was more important for your success than your IQ test scores. In the end, it was the self-control, stupid!

Sociologist Daniel Bell wondered whether the total victory of the market might ultimately be more dangerous than the spread of socialist concepts. He feared that when the logic of the market is adopted in other spheres of human activity like politics or culture, capitalism could turn out to be self-destructive. Today we vote practically on everything — on the best song, on the worst movie, on the most professional dentist. For the younger generation, the experience with democracy is not necessarily through the prism of politics.

Democracy can be said to be omnipresent. Football, for example, is becoming increasingly democratized. These ranged from the transfer of players and the management of the budget to the design of souvenirs in the team store. The problem is that this unstoppable spread of democracy has both destroyed the borders between the different spheres of human activity — those which should be run by vote and those which should be run by professional competence, and at the same time de-legitimized the popular elected democratic institutions. A decade ago the British polling agency YouGov made a comparative study between a group of political junkies and a similar cohort of young people who actively participated in the Big Brother reality show.

The distressing discovery of the study was that British citizens felt better represented in the Big Brother House. It was easier for them to identify themselves with the characters and ideas discussed there. They found it more open, transparent and representative of people like them. Reality show formats made them feel empowered in the way that democratic elections were supposed to make them feel, but failed to do so.

The logical consequences of such attitudes are, on the one hand, the secular trend of decline of electoral turnout in most Western democracies, and on the other hand, the tendency where people least likely to vote are the poor, unemployed, and the youth, in short those who in theory should be most interested in using the political system to change their lot. So, the paradoxical outcome of the expansion of democratic principle of self-governance outside of the political realm is that now that we vote on everything, the political power of the voter has declined.

In the days of national democracies, the citizen voter was powerful because he was at the same time a citizen-soldier, citizen-worker, and citizen-consumer. The citizen-soldier was important because the defense of the country depended on his courage to stand against the enemies. The citizen-worker was important because his work was making the country rich.

And the citizen-consumer mattered because his consumption was driving the economy. The fact that over the course of the recent economic crisis it became evident that the performance of the U. Markovits is a law professor at Yale. He draws his evidence from an impressive range of studies, by other researchers, of income inequality and its effects on the quality of American life. But the book completely lacks a human element. It is as though Markovits constructed simulacra of human beings out of his data: this is what the numbers tell you that people must be like.

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It is almost impossible to recognize anyone you actually know. In fact, they seem, understandably, rather pleased with themselves. Brimstone rains down from every sentence.

Chinese Meritocracy Is Superior to Western Democracy?

Markovits thinks that meritocracy is making everyone miserable, not least the meritocrats themselves. Maybe not the most apt metaphor. One thing that high-income earners do seem to know about is food. This is Trumpian, but not Trump, who is the ultimate system rigger, the crony capitalist par excellence. Back in the fifties, Markovits says, we were all on the gravy train together, or, at least, white men were. The well-off ate the same food and drove the same cars as everyone else.

You could make a good living as a middle manager or an assembly-line worker. We need to bring that America back. Of course, in that America, almost a quarter of the population lived in poverty; ten per cent of the population, Americans of African descent, was effectively barred from social advancement; and fifty per cent of the population was mostly consigned to women-only jobs. Not great for everybody. Clair Shores, Michigan. Many things besides college-admissions practices led to its decline. He uses a stereotype to represent each class: the partner at a Wall Street firm who takes home five million dollars a year versus the packager in an Amazon fulfillment center whose every movement is monitored and who has little or no job protection.

Strangely, apart from the references to Amazon, the tech economy is almost completely missing from the analysis.

Democracy or Meritocracy: Which is the Government of Reason?

This is possibly because those are careers pursued by law-school graduates, who do not train to do tech work. For Markovits, both classes are the prisoners of meritocracy, just as Marx thought that both the capitalist and the worker he exploits were doing only what the system was making them do. We created the meritocracy with good intentions, and now we are its victims.

What would a post-meritocratic world look like? He goes so far as to suggest that computers were invented to raise the value of higher education. Markovits is right that the concept of merit is now tied up with a certain idea of work, and the two are not easily separated. College-educated people believe that you are supposed to work hard.

It is difficult for them to respect someone who treats his or her job as a paycheck, rather than as a source of achievement and fulfillment. He is also probably right that the top-earner work ethic reflects the fact that people are now socialized to think of themselves as human capital. He thinks that this alienates highly educated people from their own labor, since they are driven to maximize the return on the investment they have made in themselves. But artists and athletes are embodiments of human capital, too, and they are also driven, sometimes obsessively, to succeed.

We would not say this makes them inauthentic.

A belief in meritocracy is not only false: it’s bad for you

In a brief conclusion, Markovits suggests eliminating the cap on Social Security taxes and giving the money to companies as wage subsidies to create more mid-skilled jobs. He mentions a program to create 4. And he recommends depriving private schools and universities of their tax-exempt status unless they take at least half their students from the bottom two-thirds of the income distribution. To do this, he thinks that they should double their enrollments. People who work at schools like Yale and Stanford and Chicago are devoted to exposing students to as wide an array of art, ideas, methods, and ways of being as possible.

Curricula are constructed and classes are designed to get students to explore, non-instrumentally, the world of knowledge and to reflect on their goals and ambitions in an informed way. It feeds the idea that the way to address inequality and discrimination is to reform college admissions at places like Harvard and Yale. This idea rests on an error of scale. The most highly selective universities—the eight Ivies plus M. You could swap out every legacy, donor offspring, and faculty child not to mention, since almost nobody does, recruited athletes in those schools for an underprivileged applicant and the inequality needle would hardly budge.

Those are the schools in which seventy-three per cent of American college students— Many flagship public universities, such as the University of Virginia, have basically been privatized, and charge tuitions that are unaffordable to low-income students. There are sixty thousand undergraduates in Ivy League colleges.

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  • There are four hundred and twenty-eight thousand students, seven times as many, in the Cal State system alone. Those students should be getting more resources. He cites the increased competition for admission to top schools, referring to a time, not that long ago, when the Ivy League accepted thirty per cent of its applicants. The figure is now around five per cent. But low acceptance rates are a good thing. They mean that the pool is bigger. Applicants no longer need to have gone to Groton or be able to pay full freight to have a fair chance of getting in.

    Commentators do not seem exercised about the admissions preference given to varsity athletes, but they are about the legacy preference. Eliminating that preference is a much less efficacious reform than it seems. Most American colleges are not highly selective. According to Brint, no more than five to seven per cent of college students attend a school that admits less than half its applicants. The average admissions rate at four-year colleges is sixty-six per cent.