I had a very eventful weekend last week. What started out as a routine trip to the doctor’s office turned into “let’s get the crash cart out in case her heart doesn’t start back up again.” On…
Meritocracy is problematic because the winners and the losers believe they deserve what they earned. This makes the elite look down on those without degrees or awards and plant resentment towards the elite. It’s not completely true that people deserve what they have because they may have had the privilege. Then, it’s unfair for those who are not successful to blame their lack of success on themselves completely. If people think that their lack of success is all their fault, they may feel demoralized and weak.
It can be great to believe in meritocracy because this allows us to believe that we have control over our fate. However, we are not in an ideal meritocratic society, and demoralization would only increase if it were achieved. Even when chances are equal, it remains that we must acknowledge that luck plays are role in our success. If everyone’s chances were equal, it is still lucky that the market may have needed our particular set of skills.
People widely believe that as long as you work hard, you can make it which distracts us from inequality. Education is not a plausible answer for inequality because most people don’t get a degree. Then, inequality remains and those without degrees are demoralized, given the belief of meritocracy. This gets worse as structures further support the elite with degrees under the belief of meritocracy. Then, what is needed is a system where the entirety is raised, not just certain individuals according to merit.
The common good is not about satisfying everyone’s individual goals but everyone’s common goal. People may not be able to agree on what the common good is but it can be agreed upon to an extent. Then, the equality needed in society is in education and the ability to argue what the common good is. Once the messy process of determining the common good is done, everyone can then live a more dignified life.
In any group then, it would be great to equip them with knowledge for them to know what the common good is. They must also be allowed to talk among the organization to agree on what it is. If the elite who study philosophy truly believe in the liberal arts, this knowledge must be spread among all.
Work is not just a way of making a living but also contributing to the great good of society. All kinds of work should have dignity because they all play a role in improving society. It is now evident during the lockdown that we need the delivery people and health workers Thus, this may be a fresh chance to think about the dignity of the working class and raise their wages.
There is still hope if we change our perspective of success: being able to contribute to the greater good. If we acknowledge the luck behind our success, we can appreciate the non-elite care for the common good more.
Source: Michael Sandel
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