Thursday, February 14, 2013

We don't have a meritocracy anymore

I ex boss sent me this article from Bloomberg. Prior to reading this I was going through Obama's speech very quickly.

My knee jerk response to her:

To me this is just another shred of evidence to go into the bag pointing to the case that the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way. Singapore leaders insist there is no choice to greater globalization. They are wrong. More of the same will not happen because the previous habits want to accelerate and beat down resistance, ignoring that many civilizations will not survive. This government is not planning for a reversal of trends. May be in another 15 to 20 years, how long depends on the energy, we will get back to a version of the early 80s and need to swing the pendulum the other way again. 

Does Singapore know that the trade winds are changing? I just came from reading Obama's State of the Union speech. Every democracy is starting to protect its middle class, narrowing the wealth gap and if necessary punish the fat cats. Perceived or real, they are being blamed for rigging the game in their favor.They didn't get there by merit. In fact once ensconced, they corrupt meritocracy. I quote from Obama.

It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country – the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.
It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.
Here we are making a mistake of grudgingly creating a welfare state of sorts with workfare. LKY and this government beliefs about meritocracy is wrong. A functioning meritocracy will always show social mobility because in a fair game those who have arrived but cannot rig the game will rest on their laurels and discover hungrier people coming up against them. You see this in the Internet space all the time. 

We need to overhaul Singapore. Rearranging the pieces inside our big box will not cut it. We need to ask and answer the existential questions about ourselves again. That's why many blog posts back I opted out of the senseless National Conversation.

America is beginning to rebuild their meritocracy. What about us?

1 comment:

  1. It says a lot about our system of meritocracy today that someone with A levels, who starts at the bottom but is sharp and has the necessary leadership qualities, can no longer rise to a senior manager's position - without a degree. 25 years ago this was possible.

    Today, you are propelled to the top simply based on academic results. There are too many people at the top today, particularly in govt leadership positions, with A's rather than ability or leadership qualities.