‘meritocracy’ is a shit idea bc people don’t have equal access to ‘merit’

‘merit’ is an intangible quality that straight white dudes are basically assumed to have and that everyone else might possibly obtain with enough time and resources

bc we are not starting from a place of equality, ‘meritocracy’ results in gatekeeping and perpetuated exclusion out-group individuals

a better idea: people collaborate and support each other to mutually achieve individual *and* collective goals

to the cynics: consider the potential of a culture with greater fluidity of expert knowledge and wherein people can more-rapidly develop new skillsets

the idea of meritocracy is appealing bc it offers immediate economic efficiency, but for the reasons mentioned above it’s also inherently stagnant

don’t look at the world around you like fixed puzzle. take a moment to galaxybrain and picture a utopian future wherein every single person is genuinely happy, fulfilled and thriving. solve for that

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@red I have not heard this before, holy shit that first sentence tho

@nilaky i can’t take credit for the notion (although i don’t know exactly who/where it started). i’m glad it’s resonating with you the way it did with me 👏

@red wow that last paragraph is incredible

I'll put the Pullitzer in the mail tomorrow

@marie_joseph awwww thank youuuu 😇

it’s something i’ve been thinking about a lot but have been struggling to find the right way to express. i’m glad you felt it

Thanks for this. I would just add that idea of meritocracy is plagued with the problem of who will decide which persons deserve merit. The judges so far have been Euro- males. Sadly. I dont see anything changing.

@Robbdoeyes yeah i don’t see it changing on its own. but i love connecting with likeminded agitators to apply pressure and force change of oppressive old institutions 🙌💪

@red The book Walkaway has a really good quote about this:

“If you do things because you want someone else to pat you on the head, you won’t get as good at it as someone who does it for internal satisfaction. We want the best-possible building. If we set up a system that makes people compete for acknowledgment, we invite game-playing and stats-fiddling, even unhealthy stuff like working stupid hours to beat everyone. A crew full of unhappy people doing substandard work. If you build systems that make people focus on mastery, cooperation, and better work, we’ll have a beautiful inn full of happy people working together well.”

@wuz @red
I don't see why the change in motivational goal has any influence on unhealthy behavior.
I find people doing things out of internal obsession are even more prone to doing it at the cost of their own health.

@red You can learn a lot about a country from it's media. For example: Some movies and series emphasize teamwork to achieve our goals. This I've noticed in much of asian media. Many country's media emphasizes single hero action in most of their media. I've seen this in the media from most western countries. This is also a symptom of the divide and conquer theory of the passive coup, because if everyone has individual power emphasized instead of team power, they won't work together and fight.

@red @djsundog Your regularly scheduled reminder that the word was created as part of a satire meant to point out that it was a horrible idea that enshrines privilege. So you’re going even more right than you might think and the techbros who think this is a good thing are even more wrong.

@red I think it's rather fitting, therefore, that the man who coined the term 'meritocracy' also fathered the grotesquely limacine Toby Young, whose existence belies meritocracy at every step, and who only got into Oxford because his Dad rang up and pleaded with an old friend.

@TruculentSheep wow imagine your whole life being one long punchline 😆🙃

@red in my experience the louder an org talks about being a meritocracy, the more it's actually run in practice by an undocumented and opaque process of social consensus among an invisible core group of chummy insiders

@z @red yeah i've worked at several startups, but my comment was more based on my experience at $WELL_KNOWN_INTERNET_COMPANY to be honest. Plenty of bogus-"meritocracy" startups out there, but I've been fairly lucky to work mostly at startups that were early-stage enough that there wasn't much time for political games, they were closer to the ideal of flat-structure, everybody pulling their weight. (Or maybe that's just what it feels like to be part of the chummy group of insiders!)


I agree that meritocrac’ is shit, but the "bc people don’t have equal access to merit" implies that if people did have equal access to ‘merit’, it would be fair. That part I disagree with.

If the liberal bullshit was true and we really did all have the same opportunities to 'achieve excellence', I still don't see why those who achieve it should eat better than me or make more of the decisions.

I'd still go for consensus & 'from each according to ability, to each according to needs'

@queeranarchism capitalism is literally a game and it should be treated with all the importance of a game

today's billionaires should have the high score on a leaderboard that some niche group of people care about and which affects absolutely *no ones* lives

under. no. circumstances. should. money. determine. whether. a. person. has. access. to. what. they. need. to. live. happily. and. healthily

does that track?


To be honest, I have absolutely no idea where you're going with this.

Seems like a general statement against capitalism, which I of course agree with, but it doesn't sound like it holds a response to me text or anything about meritocracy.

@queeranarchism to be honest i felt the same way about your toot? it seemed like you were arguing against semantics and not the message of what i had written


I'll try to explain if that's okay.

To me "meritocracy is bad because we don't have equal access to merit"
implies "if we had equal access to merit, meritocracy wouldn't be bad"

Just like "no one who works 40 hours a week should be homeless"
implies "you need to work to not be homeless"
because otherwise just saying "no one should be homeless" would be enough on its own.

I don't think that's semantics.

@queeranarchism it genuinely feels like you only read the first sentence of my two-toot thread and decided to start a conversation about that

in case i am not being clear, i am *not* interested in having a discussion about one off-hand sentence taken out of context


Everything except for the last sentence of your first toot was about how we don't have equal access to merit, so I was replying to pretty much the whole first toot.

But ya know, if you don't wanna talk that's fine. You could have just said so instead of sending a cryptic reply first and then getting all passive aggressive.

I have no interest in talking to someone who doesn't want to have that conversation. Bye.

@red Even if we assumed a perfect meritocracy was possible, why do people with less "merit" deserve fewer resources and less freedom? Why is that an inherent good? What purpose does it serve?

It's just institutionalized ableism. Especially when you consider that the people with lesser ability often have greater needs too

@Pops you’re the second person to ask me this and honestly i have no clue why someone would read this post and think i was pro-meritocracy it blows my fucking mind. sorry i can’t anwer your question bc the answer doesn’t exist in euclidean space

@red No no no sorry I'm agreeing with you. I might've worded that in a misleading way, my bad. I was just trying to add a different perspective for the same conclusion

@Pops haha oh phew. sorry i misinterpreted bc the other person got my head spinning

yeah it’s really unfathomable. i think some people just hear meritocracy, it sounds vaguely altruistic and they never interrogate what that really means. the things people will just go along with,,, 😳🙄🙄

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