20 November 2008

America is no longer a meritocracy

The rise of incompetents and incompetence in many, if not all facets, of everyday life is a troubling modern development which should give pause to anyone who believes in the gospel of perpetual historical progress and advancement. Suffice it to say that this state of affairs, in and of itself, is proof enough that there is no longer an efficient market allocation of resources such as skills and brains. Therefore the engine of allocation, that noble concept known as meritocracy, must currently be non-functional. Indeed, all signs point to this.

It used to be a hallowed ideal that given a blessing of skills, native intellect, and the drive and effort to put those gifts to work productively, a person - any person, from any walk of life - could rise and achieve success and fortune. The wondrous allocating force of the market, that disinterested entity consistently striving for more efficient and better means of implementing the tools of production, would in a seemingly almost automatic process (the invisible hand, remember?) render this situation so. At the same time, the market filtering processes provided the easy ability to sift through the chaff of dullness which is the majority of humanity and situate them in the lower strata of the economic hierarchy, in a position of mediocrity to which their modest faculties were best suited.

But lo, the rise of the dickheadocracy has stunted this process. With the birth and growth of an all powerful interventionist State headed by a God-Leader, draining wealth out of the economy in leech-like fashion, and the attendant shrinking of the free sphere of activity, the ability of the talented to rise by nature, as they have historically, is stunted. Conversely, those who are born into advantage and who have a far easier time of reproducing their parents' comfortable lives walk into the economic arena with vastly reduced competition but with all the advantages of privilege intact. This situation is the same for the ignorant, dull youth of means as it is for the intelligent children of privilege. Therefore, the incongruous sight of downright morons with positions of power and responsibility in high places is regrettably becoming more and more the norm.

For the dickhead, it is not what you know but who you know, and how to interact with those who you know, that is the recipe for success and the key to the good (but morally hollow) life. The delicate dance of subtleties which the dickhead knows seemingly by second nature is, unbelievably, the method by which economic winners and losers are dictated to-day. The game of employability is no longer a process of demonstrating results and proving value for money; it has become a political process.

This is only inevitable in the age of State supremacy. Too many talented people are chasing too few jobs. The vast private wealth consumed by the eternally expanding State sector in the form of taxes and inflation greatly reduces the amount of capital available to free enterprise. Fewer jobs are thus created in the private economy which pay well, and those companies which have the ability remove the jobs from this country altogether in order to escape the bone crushing cacaphony of deductions, liabilities, and regulations that the byzantine arena of modern State law represents.

The regrettable byproduct is an expanded 'service' sector filled with the seething hordes of economic losers and failures who were unable to play the game to perfection. For the most part, this includes those strivers from society's less advantaged castes, as they did not pick up the nuances of dickhead socialization from their parents as the sons and daughters of privilege did. Surviving as best they can on wage levels that could never hope to support even one person, much less a household, locked into dreary and unthinking vocations that require the intelligent person to check their mind at the door before entering, this massive misallocation of talent is hardly content with sharing a socioeconomic bracket with high school dropouts, losers, asspies, and other failures.

As these economic rejects hope for a miracle, that their resume and advanced education will be spied by some benighted hiring manager with a position to fill, as they pour coffee and wait tables and pine for the day when they can rejoin productive society, up in the white collar world underperformance and moronia are the order of the day among a distinct group of people. They are not a coherent demographic and come in many colors and stripes, but every office has its underachieving loser to contend with. Normal people wonder in amazement how this person got hired in the first place. Seemingly unable to perform even the simplest task correctly, the office loser is shunned by all and liked by no one. The loser has a miraculous ability to hide his incompetence from his superiors. He is usually none too bright and hardly a people person, which are standard loser traits. It would seem that this person, having never expended an ounce of energy in his life on anything substantial, is glued to a perpetual puerile adolescence.

Doesn't economic justice dictate that the intelligent but redundant educated person, willing to work hard, should have a shot at the brass ring, while the loser be shunted into the cold barren misery of the bread line?

Until that day arrives, it is safe to say that this country is no longer a meritocracy.

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