Feb. 20th, 2014

fengi: (Reach)
I will offer a thought I have when I am feeling down: meritocracy is nothing but an illusion for most of us. Even when merit does matter, chance determines if it pays off. The more inequality there is the more chance dominates as one must first luck into a favored position in the rigged game before merit can matter. This is mostly about winning the sperm lottery and being born with advantages, although some may luck into the favors of those born advantaged.

No matter their background, those enjoying good fortune of such a society need to think they deserved it, particularly if the odds were stacked in their favor.

Pundits, preachers, economists and social scientists can make bank by exaggerating how much control one has over a life reduced to a casino, which means one has truly earned whatever payout one gets. Interestingly, winners and losers are both willing to take solace in such hyperbole.

I vacillate on the degree to which this is true. Even if control over general circumstances has been reduced to chance, there's still free will about what one does within that. It may be optimistic think it's possible for the masses to alter the casino aspect of society, increasing the degree of cause and effect to our efforts. We can make it so chance is primarily a force of nature and not so much the variable which serves a mechanism operated by the rich and powerful.