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  • Writer's pictureTraci Dority-Shanklin

Meritocracy: A Severely Flawed Promise

Meritocracy (n) a system where money and status are rewarded based on individual merit and not on their pedigree, class, or social origins.

On paper (and in the dictionary), the definition of meritocracy sounds great, but when put into practice, it’s severely flawed. According to the December 1, 2015 article, “The False Promise of Meritocracy,” from the Atlantic, a majority of Americans over the last 20 years still want to believe that workers are rewarded for their intelligence and skill set rather than their wealth, class, or status despite growing economic inequality, recessions, and the fact that there’s less mobility here in the US than most other industrialized countries in the world.

The Myth of Meritocracy vs. Reality

The reality is that meritocracy has less to do with a certain skill set, or talent, or just plain hard work, but it has much more to do with luck. In the clip below from my podcast, The World of Multiemployer Benefit Funds, my guest, diversity, equity, and inclusion strategist Nicole Lee, explains why the promise of meritocracy is severely flawed:

Even though many Americans like to hold onto the myth of “rugged individualism,” the reality is that those who find success rarely got there “all by themselves.” Someone or several someones helped them along the way. Someone mentored them; someone financed them; someone worked for them; someone assisted them.

About The World of Multiemployer Benefit Funds Podcast:

Whether you’re at home, in the car, at your job, or on your workout, union and client advocate with over twenty-five years of experience in Taft-Hartley funds and DB plans, Traci Dority-Shanklin, hosts The World of Multiemployer Benefit Funds podcast where she chats with leading industry experts about the state of these funds and everything that impacts them. Only on Buzzsprout, Apple Podcasts, or right here on our website: Listen to this podcast by clicking here.

Be informed. Be inspired. Be part of the change!

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