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By Stephen J. McNamee

The Meritocracy Myth demanding situations the commonly held American trust in meritocracy—that humans get out of the process what they placed into it according to person benefit. The 3rd variation has been revised and streamlined, with clean examples and up-to-date statistical info all through. Chapters 8 and 9 were mixed right into a complete bankruptcy approximately discrimination as a non-merit barrier to upward mobility. The ebook additionally contains a new part on “The nice Recession.”

The Meritocracy Myth examines expertise, angle, paintings ethic, and personality as parts of benefit, and evaluates the impression of non-merit elements akin to social prestige, race, background, and wealth on meritocracy. A compelling ebook on an often-overlooked subject, The Meritocracy Myth has turn into a school room vintage to introduce scholars to this provocative topic.

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While humans reflect on who's quite wealthy in the United States, specialist athletes and artists (e. g. , actors, singers, writers), who command large salaries for his or her prone, usually spring to mind first. even if famous person entertainers and athletes corresponding to Simon Cowell, Oprah Winfrey, Floyd “Money” Mayweather, and Tom Cruise earn large annual earning for his or her providers ($90 million, $165 million, $85 million, and $75 million, respectively) (Forbes 2012b), the quite gigantic funds in the US comes now not from operating for a residing yet from possessing income-producing estate. one of the 100 highest-paid celebrities in the US who're athletes or entertainers (as against proprietors, administrators, and producers), just one, Oprah Winfrey, is without doubt one of the wealthiest 400 american citizens, making the reduce at quantity 151 (Forbes 2012b). it really is instructive that Winfrey additionally owns her personal creation corporation, Harpo. the opposite nonperforming “entertainers” integrated within the record of the wealthiest 400 american citizens, George Lucas (number a hundred and twenty) and Steven Spielberg (number 125), additionally personal their very own creation businesses (Forbes 2012a). even if generally one of the wealthiest of all americans, athletes and actors, even though, are celebrities who're renowned to most people. a few, comparable to Oprah Winfrey, come from modest social origins. the outstanding luck of those celebrities has a tendency to augment the general public conception that during the United States, you could move so far as your abilities and skills can take you. you'll argue that those “elites” are actually proficient and feature impressive actual traits no longer to be had to the typical individual (e. g. , dimension, pace, agility, hand-eye coordination). uncooked expertise on my own, even though, isn't sufficient. expertise needs to be cultivated via recruitment and possibilities for education. strength expertise can move left out, really within the absence of possibilities to boost and express it. education might be dear and never simply on hand to humans of modest ability, fairly in such activities as golfing, tennis, swimming, and determine skating. Sociologist William Chambliss (1989), who studied the realm of champion Olympic swimmers, means that the concept that of inherent expertise in and of itself is largely dead simply because inherent expertise as reason can't be separated from its results. that's, expertise can't be used to tell apart good fortune and failure simply because one doesn't “know” it's there till luck happens. Chambliss argues that the thresholds for usual skill wanted for athletic good fortune (minimum actual energy, coordination, heart/lung potential, and so forth) are remarkably low. some of the key components to luck within the swimming international are unrelated to uncooked talent—living in hot climates, having prosperous and supportive mom and dad, and the supply of specialist training. the place milliseconds usually separate “winners” and “losers,” Chambliss issues out that what distinguishes champions from mere contenders isn't inherent actual superiority yet extra mundane issues reminiscent of procedure and coaching.

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