Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The War on Merit

"(Gladstone) owned an estate of 7,000 acres at Hawarden with 2,500 tenents producing an annual rent roll between 10,000 and 12,000 In a letter to a grandson who would inherit it the Great Radical urged him to regain land lost by debt to earlier generations and restore Hawarden to it's former rank as a "leading influence" in the county because as he said, "no society could afford to dispense with it's dominant influences.  No Duke could have put it better.  -- The Proud Tower: Chapter 1, the Aristocrats.  by Barbara Tuchman.

The People of the Han called it right.  The only way to preserve a meritocracy is to castrate the meritocrats because if you don't their children will morph into aristocrats.

All but the worst of parents look after their kids as best they can.  Most will do what they can for them.  They try to arrange, good schooling, good jobs and good lives.  The downside to this is the over promotion of the incompetent.  These parents where ever possible remove the possibility of failure from their children's lives.

The easiest way to do that is get them high paying jobs that have standards that are hard to measure.  Profits are easily measured so get them a job in a non-profit.

Government employment can't be measured in terms of success, only activity, so that is a natural.

Academics don't pay that well and may want results in the Publish or Perish circuit  but Endowed Chairs are another kettle of fish entirely.

If nothing else, you can always shovel them into a dying industry.  It's not for preference to be sure but being journalists will give them an inflated sense of self esteem and that's really matters to the Millennials anyway.


I used to be a good Randite. 

How the hell am I seeing eye to eye with the freaking Guardian.

... Hillary’s ingratiating speeches to Wall Street are well known of course, but what is remarkable is that, in the party of Jackson and Bryan and Roosevelt, smiling financiers now seem to stand on every corner, constantly proffering advice about this and that. In one now-famous email chain, for example, the reader can watch current US trade representative Michael Froman, writing from a Citibank email address in 2008, appear to namePresident Obama’s cabinet even before the great hope-and-change election was decided (incidentally, an important clue to understanding why that greatest of zombie banks was never put out of its misery).

The far-sighted innovators of Silicon Valley are also here in force, interacting all the time with the leaders of the party of the people. We watch as Podesta appears to email Sheryl Sandberg. He makes plans to visit Mark Zuckerberg (who, according to one missive, wants to “learn more about next steps for his philanthropy and social action”). Podesta exchanges emails with an entrepreneur about an ugly race now unfolding for Silicon Valley’s seat in Congress; this man, in turn, appears to forward to Podesta the remarks of yet another Silicon Valley grandee, who complains that one of the Democratic combatants in that fight was criticizing billionaires who give to Democrats. Specifically, the miscreant Dem in question was said to be:

“… spinning (and attacking) donors who have supported Democrats. John Arnold and Marc Leder have both given to Cory Booker, Joe Kennedy, and others. He is also attacking every billionaire that donates to [Congressional candidate] Ro [Khanna], many whom support other Democrats as well.

There are wonderful things to be found in this treasure trove when you search the gilded words “Davos” or “Tahoe”. But it is when you search “Vineyard” on the WikiLeaks dump that you realize these people truly inhabit a different world from the rest of us. By “vineyard”, of course, they mean Martha’s Vineyard, the ritzy vacation resort island off the coast of Massachusetts where presidents Clinton and Obama spent most of their summer vacations. The Vineyard is a place for the very, very rich to unwind, yes, but as we learn from these emails, it is also a place of high idealism; a land of enlightened liberal commitment far beyond anything ordinary citizens can ever achieve...


This genre of Podesta email, in which people try to arrange jobs for themselves or their kids, points us toward the most fundamental thing we know about the people at the top of this class: their loyalty to one another and the way it overrides everything else.


Meet our new aristocrats, nowhere near as good as the old.


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