Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Meritocracy Round 5

Continuing from Round 1Round 2, Round 3, and Round 4 picking up with the Fall of the Labour Movement.  The Labour Movements historic role in the book was to win the people's mind to the order of the world the other reforms had created, to adapt to the language of the people the message that they need to compete and be measured.  That this was their will being done.   The end goal to equality of opportunity was aided by the Socialists having related or similar enough goals that gave them reason to add their support.  Once opportunity was equal the secondary goal of the socialists, equality of man was absurd.  Had the ideal of equality of man been carried to it's logical conclusion, the revolution would have been a dud.  The will to rise as high as your abilities justified had to be the ethos of the people, Young's literary doppelganger says otherwise the the country would never have achieved it's many successes.

While discipline was voluntary, socialism played an indispensable role in goading people to go get the opportunities available to them.  Where Protestantism fired the acquisitive urge it had to be adapted to economic requirements in order for expansion into Western Europe and other parts the world that made up the British Empire, the older religions of the rest of the world to provide that fire.  This gave rise to the linked religions of Communism and Nationalism and the accompanying revolutions that helped the Russian, Chinese and Arab's be receptive to needing turbo generators and electrostatic wands (author's examples not mine, you could say cell phones and televisions just as easily).  Protestantism could only go so far though as it encouraged the hording of wealth for future generations, so it was the transmutation of Protestantism through non-conformist churches into anglo-socalism that carried the transformation the rest of the way through.  It was the socialist distilled message that all men where created equal, so what did right did one man have to opportunity that all other men didn't have as well.  They failed to see that in practice that equal opportunity was real equal opportunity to be unequal.  Their structural blindness helped them attack with vigor all means of inequality due to inheritance.  Death duties, the decay of nepotism, free secondary and university education and the integration of public (again in America we call these private) schools, wages for students and the abolition of the hereditary house of Lords (British house of government) where their greatest achievements.  A change of the countries psychology on the scale and time frame it was achieved wouldn't have been possible without the socialists.

The next section is on British politics, and is not the most interesting read for those that don't know how their government works.  The short version is this outlines how the House of Lords came to be a tool of the Meritocracy and the House of Commons came to be of little importance.  Prior to the casteless society suffrage (the right to vote) was recognition that intelligence was distributed among the population at random, so the above average in the miners and factory workers was likely to be as intelligent as the above average Lord.  Once the society moved to a class based society the argument that talented could be plucked from among those that where left after intelligence testing had separated them out of was harder to make.  The lower class clung to their right to vote, even as it made them inherently less and less equipped to perform in the complicated government that emerged from the rise of the meritocracy.  Even though that could be demonstrated, the public continued to elect from within, and the author concedes that there are rare occasions that advice from a properly advised common man is as good as what the meritocracy can come up with on it's own so the social relief of allowing the appearance of power sharing is worth headache.  The real reform came in the House of Lords.  Hereditary peers where banned, the membership was restricted to life peers, the selection was of men as well as women from the most eminent people in the Kingdom and the payment of a generous honorarium transitioned the tool of the Aristocracy into a tool of the Meritocracy.  Further lessening the role of the House of Commons was the high preference given to selection for the civil service, that is filled with highly competent and well trained servants.  In the face of this, nearly all amateur politicians are happy to take the glory and abandon the power.

With it's purpose fulfilled the Labour party continued on mostly because of social inertia.  The members of the party advanced their concerns as unit when the individuals where bared from advancement, once the meritocracy began to work there was no need to continue to work together.  Their compromise with the society that they helped to birth was to cease to exist.  Every individual advancement was a detriment to the Labour parties whole.  There was some political appeal to claiming labour heritage, the hard upbringing and working one's way up the ladder, but as the base of the party advanced to middle class there was less value in those emotional appeals.  Interesting to note in this section Young guessed at something that really has come to pass years after he parodied it.  He proposed upgrading of titles to jobs that could not be upgraded otherwise.  Workers became Technicians, Technicians became Specialists, Specialists became Benefactors, ect.  I would have to look it up, but I thought this trend started in the 80's, but can you imagine rat-catchers as rodent officers?  This behavior was also mimicked by the unions, and thus the labor party became the technicians party nearly overnight.

As the meritocracy kept the bright for itself there where no up and coming intelligent children in the labor force of the unions to replace the retiring union leadership.  Unions would have collapsed under mismanagement had they not changed tack and taken to strengthening their appointed staff by hiring from universities.  The negotiation shifted from with individual companies to nationalized negotiations based on statistics rather than bargaining.  It seems absurd to anyone that has ever dealt with a union that nationalized bargaining would ever have a chance of being less contemptuous than the union bargaining we read about in the news all the time.  If State's can barely make peace with just the Teachers Unions, I cannot imagine what waste workers or longshoremen would be like if they negotiated with the Federal Government.  I'll give him some creative license here, I'm positive that the author hoped humans would be more capable of being civil in the future and went when he was writing this.  As this history lesson draws to a close, the author does finally start to peal back some potential reasons that there is unrest in the Meritocracy.  He notes that modern populists are arguing that because their leadership didn't ascend from their ranks, their is no cohesion.  The group cannot look up to one of their own that has succeeded, in essence hope has vanished.

Continue to Part 6 >>>


  1. That, was a lot to digest. It's really dense and I'm not sure I understood everything. ._.

  2. "I would have to look it up, but I thought this trend started in the 80's, but can you imagine rat-catchers as rodent officers?"

    We joke about it heavily in our new book, but I've seriously met janitors whose job title is "senior maintenance technician." No, no you're not. You're a janitor, and you scrub a toilet. This name upgrading nonsense is just ridiculous.