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Daniel Markovits Podcasts

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12 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Daniel Markovits. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Daniel Markovits, often where they are interviewed.

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12 of The Best Podcast Episodes for Daniel Markovits. A collection of podcasts episodes with or about Daniel Markovits, often where they are interviewed.

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The Meritocracy Trap With Professor Daniel Markovits

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It is an axiom of American life that advantage should be earned through ability and effort. Even as the country divides itself at every turn, the meritocratic ideal – that social and economic rewards should follow achievement rather than breeding – reigns supreme. Both Democrats and Republicans insistently repeat meritocratic notions. Meritocracy cuts to the heart of who we are. It sustains the American dream.

But what if, both up and down the social ladder, meritocracy is a sham? Today, meritocracy has become exactly what it was conceived to resist: a mechanism for the concentration and dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Upward mobility has become a fantasy, and the embattled middle classes are now more likely to sink into the working poor than to rise into the professional elite. At the same time, meritocracy now ensnares even those who manage to claw their way to the top, requiring rich adults to work with crushing intensity, exploiting their expensive educations in order to extract a return. All this is not the result of deviations or retreats from meritocracy but rather stems directly from meritocracy’s successes.

This is the radical argument that Daniel Markovits prosecutes with rare force. Markovits is well placed to expose the sham of meritocracy. Having spent his life at elite universities, he knows from the inside the corrosive system we are trapped within. Markovits also knows that, if we understand that meritocratic inequality produces near-universal harm, we can cure it. When The Meritocracy Trap reveals the inner workings of the meritocratic machine, it also illuminates the first steps outward, towards a new world that might once again afford dignity and prosperity to the American people.

To learn more about Prof. Daniel Markovits and his work, visit www.themeritocracytrap.com and follow him on Twitter @dsmarkovits
Oct 19 2020 · 55mins
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20-1019-The Meritocracy Trap with Prof. Daniel Markovits

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It is an axiom of American life that advantage should be earned through ability and effort. Even as the country divides itself at every turn, the meritocratic ideal – that social and economic rewards should follow achievement rather than breeding – reigns supreme. Both Democrats and Republicans insistently repeat meritocratic notions. Meritocracy cuts to the heart of who we are. It sustains the American dream.

But what if, both up and down the social ladder, meritocracy is a sham? Today, meritocracy has become exactly what it was conceived to resist: a mechanism for the concentration and dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations. Upward mobility has become a fantasy, and the embattled middle classes are now more likely to sink into the working poor than to rise into the professional elite. At the same time, meritocracy now ensnares even those who manage to claw their way to the top, requiring rich adults to work with crushing intensity, exploiting their expensive educations in order to extract a return. All this is not the result of deviations or retreats from meritocracy but rather stems directly from meritocracy’s successes.

This is the radical argument that Daniel Markovits prosecutes with rare force. Markovits is well placed to expose the sham of meritocracy. Having spent his life at elite universities, he knows from the inside the corrosive system we are trapped within. Markovits also knows that, if we understand that meritocratic inequality produces near-universal harm, we can cure it. When The Meritocracy Trap reveals the inner workings of the meritocratic machine, it also illuminates the first steps outward, towards a new world that might once again afford dignity and prosperity to the American people.

To learn more about Prof. Daniel Markovits and his work, visit www.themeritocracytrap.com and follow him on Twitter @dsmarkovits

To get your copy of The Meritocracy Trap, please visit our Amazon affiliate link.

To learn more about Provocative Enlightenment Radio, go to http://www.provocativeenlightenment.com

Oct 19 2020 · 51mins

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The Meritocracy Trap (Glenn Loury & Daniel Markovits)

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Daniel's book, The Meritocracy Trap ... Daniel: Meritocracy props up medical innovation at the expense of health ... Examining meritocracy in economics departments ... Daniel says legal education in Germany is easier and better ... Daniel: Higher education is much too intensive and much too exclusive ... Olympic athletes are far better than they were 70 years ago. Is that a good thing? ... Glenn asks if Daniel's position requires him to repudiate affirmative action ...
Oct 05 2020 · 55mins
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423: The Meritocracy Trap: How the Myth Feeds Inequality with Daniel Markovits

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The Meritocracy Trap: How the Myth Feeds Inequality with Daniel Markovits

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Every year I live outside the U.S. I’m able to better understand my culture simply due to my physical distance from it. I notice things like promiscuous use of peanut butter and cinnamon in American foods, the endless sports and war metaphors in colloquial language, the ubiquitous nostalgia for the post-World War II family life, and the universal belief that every underdog has a chance to go all the way up. 

Meritocracy.

Study hard, work hard, and show up year-after-year, and you can be just about anything you want to be. In the 1950s, that was somewhat true. Today, the schism between the have and have-nots is so vast that in many cases, no amount of hard work or earned street cred will give you equal access to opportunity. If you're dealt an unlucky hand, as most people are, your options are limited by gatekeepers you’ll never meet, schools and jobs you’ll never have access to. More perplexing still, if you’re dealt a lucky hand, as I was, and if you play your cards right, you enlist into a lifetime of self-sacrifice, ridiculously long work days, and an almost guaranteed inability to enjoy the so-called privileged life you lead. Why? Because you’re working all the time. Meritocracy, like any ideology, sounds amazing on paper, but falls flat in the real world. It’s as mythical as a unicorn. Catch me if you can. On this week’s show, you’ll meet researcher and writer, Daniel Morkovits, who shares his findings on just how broken this meritocratic system is today. 

Listen & Learn:

  • How average CEO compensation has grown 940% since 1978 while typical worker compensation has risen only 12% during that same time
  • How elite education, more than any other factor, acts as the gating factor into the ruling class 
  • How the best universities brag about sub-10% acceptance rates, essentially engineering an elite class
  • How middle-level jobs are getting completely eliminated by technology leaving only the ruling and working classes on either end of the spectrum
  • How the meritocracy myth is not just unfair, but potentially dangerous as it threatens the safety and happiness of both the haves and have-nots. 

Links & Resources

ABOUT OUR GUEST Daniel Markovits holds degrees from Yale, London School of Economics and Oxford. He’s on the faculty at Yale Law School, where he publishes on the philosophical foundations of private law, moral and political philosophy, and behavioural economics. His latest book is, The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite. Nutritional Tip of the Week:

  • White Bread Better Than Whole Wheat

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Aug 05 2020 · 40mins
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Daniel Markovits

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Daniel Markovits, Meritocracy and the State of America

Jun 08 2020 · 52mins
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"The Meritocracy Trap" w/ Daniel Markovits

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Chris has a wide-ranging conversation with Daniel Markovits from Yale Law School about his recent book "The Meritocracy Trap" and how the structural imbalances that exist within corporate America conspire to prevent most workers--of almost any level--from the kind of stable career progression that once was responsible for creating a Professional Middle Class in this country.

Chris also muses about gratitude, considering ethical work, and gives a preview of next week's guest (for the first time!)
Read this stuff from Professor Markovits:
Article: "How Life Became and Endless, Terrible Competition"
Article: "How McKinsey Destroyed the Middle Class"
Book: "The Meritocracy Trap"
Op-Ed: "A Wealth Tax is the Logical Way to Support Coronavirus Relief"

About Professor Markovits:

Daniel Markovits is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Private Law.

Markovits works in the philosophical foundations of private law, moral and political philosophy, and behavioral economics. He publishes in a range of disciplines, including in Science, The American Economic Review, and The Yale Law Journal.

Markovits’s current book, The Meritocracy Trap (forthcoming, Penguin Press), places meritocracy at the center of rising economic inequality and social and political dysfunction. The book takes up the law, economics, and politics of human capital to identify the mechanisms through which meritocracy breeds inequality and to expose the burdens that meritocratic inequality imposes on all who fall within meritocracy’s orbit.

May 11 2020 · 1hr 18mins
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Two self-loathing meritocrats discuss inequality, with Yale Law professor Daniel Markovits

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Yale Law School professor Daniel Markovits joins us to discuss The Meritocracy Trap, his book about an under-appreciated driver of inequality in this country -- and how the 1% includes more people than we commonly acknowledge.

May 07 2020 · 42mins
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Daniel Markovits: Can We Blame the Meritocracy in America for the Current Crisis?

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Daniel Markovits is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School and founding director of the Center for the Study of Private Law.

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May 01 2020 · 23mins
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The Meritocracy Trap: Daniel Markovits

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The Cost of Human Capital

Meritocracy gives the illusion that we are all equally competing at a level playing field. The reality is that the elite is able to purchase better education, which means they are more qualified when it comes to college admissions and high-income jobs. By heavily investing in education and training, elites build human capital within themselves. They become superordinate workers who are paid enormous wages. The flip side is that human capital enslaves us because we have to yield intensive and alienated labor. In order to maintain status in the elite and reap the benefits of the capital invested in them, meritocrats must work continuously at the highest paying jobs they can find. A member of the elite works punishingly long hours under intense pressure. While meritocracy allows some to become extremely wealthy, they do so at the cost of their own freedom, and ultimately their own happiness.

Meritocracy Erodes Democracy

Meritocracy erodes democracy in two key ways. First, meritocracy frames the reality of systemic failure to provide economic opportunity as the failure of individuals to measure up in society. It tells the person who didn’t get into Harvard or get a job at Google that if only they worked harder or were smarter, they would have succeeded, when in fact they are victims of structural exclusion. This creates deep disaffection among those who are unfairly excluded, who then begin to question the underlying institutions that hold American society together. Populists and nativists are able to harness this sentiment, blame ‘the other,’ rise to power, and attack democratic norms. Second, meritocracy creates a massively wealthy elite minority who can legally buy influence in media, politics, and even reduce tax obligations. Between the alienation of the middle and lower classes, and the outsized power of the elite, meritocracy has been one of the leading causes of the erosion of democracy.

Solving the Meritocracy Trap

Meritocracy compounds inequality through unequal access to quality education. Expensive, elite schools prepare those who can afford them for the most selective universities and then high-paying jobs. In addition, because of the way social security tax works, employers now have a huge tax incentive to hire one superordinate worker and robots as opposed to more middle income workers. Markovits proposes two policies to address these problems: expanding elite education and extending the social security tax. Opening up elite institutions will make them less exclusive and more accessible, providing more opportunities to the middle class to higher income. Currently, the social security tax is capped at $137,700, which means that the person who makes $150,000 and the person who makes $2,000,000 pay the same amount in social security tax. Eliminating the cap would raise almost 1.5% of GDP in steady state, which could help fund expanded education.

Find out more:

Daniel Markovits is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Private Law. Markovits works in the philosophical foundations of private law, moral and political philosophy, and behavioral economics.

The Meritocracy Trap is his latest book. It places meritocracy at the center of rising economic inequality and social and political dysfunction, and provides solutions to these problems.

You can follow Daniel on Twitter @DSMarkovits

Jan 11 2020 · 39mins
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#111: Meritocracy and the social mobility trap, with Daniel Markovits

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Sure it's a good idea in theory, but does meritocracy really work in real life? Yale law school professor Daniel Markovits joins the Prospect podcast and tells us why he's sceptical. Far from seeing a world where people can get ahead regardless of one's social background, Markovits instead argues that meritocracy has also emerged alongside a greater concentration of wealth and privilege, more so than ever.

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Dec 12 2019 · 34mins
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