The rot in the heart of the "meritocracy"

By Razib Khan | July 9, 2012 8:11 pm

70 Students to Retake Exams After Cheating Case:

Seventy students were involved in a pattern of smartphone-enabled cheating last month at Stuyvesant High School, New York City officials said Monday, describing an episode that has blemished one of the country’s most prestigious public schools.

The cheating involved several state exams and was uncovered after a cellphone was confiscated from a 16-year-old junior during a citywide language exam on June 18, according to a city Department of Education investigation.

Dr. Drew Cashes In:

It’s not surprising that some doctors would take drug company cash—even when doing so potentially runs counter to the interests of their patients. But the $760 million figure gives a sense how widespread the problem has become. Throw a few names into the ProPublica database—names of medical doctors you know—and there’s a reasonable chance you’ll discover that one has been suckling from Big Pharma’s teat.

And the Libor scandal. Are we seeing the end of the Mandate of Heaven for this ascendant order? Who knows.


Comments (2)

  1. Steve Johnson

    Meritocracy combined with a wide gap in outcomes between those who make it and those who just miss is an extremely dangerous combination. On average the children of the winners will not reach the status of their parents and will be out competed by some child of a just missed parent (lots more just missed than there are people who made it).

    Hence, if there’s a short term / long term conflict the incentive is to cash out – for example, by destroying the reputation of the medical community but making a huge amount of cash from pharmaceutical companies. Unless you’re in the top of the distribution of doctors and your spouse is as well your children are likely to benefit rather than suffer for your decision.

  2. asdf

    What is merit? Merit is about winning. Nothing about winning means everyone wins.

    Noblese Oblige requires that the nobles know their priviledge is unearned, and thus they have to give back to those nice enough to accept their priviledge.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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