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    Inhaltsangabe

    Brought to you by Penguin.  

    These are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favour of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the promise that 'you can make it if you try'. And the consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has fuelled populist protest, with the triumph of Brexit and election of Donald Trump.  

    Michael J. Sandel argues that to overcome the polarised politics of our time, we must rethink the attitudes toward success and failure that have accompanied globalisation and rising inequality. Sandel highlights the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgement it imposes on those left behind. He offers an alternative way of thinking about success - more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility and more hospitable to a politics of the common good.

    ©2020 Michael J. Sandel (P)2020 Penguin Audio

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    Das sagen andere Hörer zu The Tyranny of Merit

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    Gesamt
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    • Gesamt
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Sprecher
      4 out of 5 stars
    • Geschichte
      4 out of 5 stars

    Toughtfull and thorough argument about meritocracy

    I'm trying to wrap my head around what there might be to say for and against meritocracy. I had just finished "The Meritocracy Trap" by Daniel Markovits, which was, more or less, a condemnation of American Meritocracy. I probably shouldn't have listened to this audiobook right afterwards, because I tend to confound them in my head and have some difficulty teasing them apart.
    But, Michael J. Sandel is less vitriol in his attack on the American meritocracy than Markovits. Yet, he does call it a tyranny, which is a pretty strong wording. I believe his main quarrel with 'merit' and the meritocracy, is that it is 'unjust'.
    I believe he's a moral philosopher, as he has some enlightening and interesting discussions of both Hayek (economist) and John Rawls.
    I believe he takes issue with Hayeks economic liberalism, because in the end it is unjust and has too little respect or too little concern for the common good. Hayek is too concerned about individual freedom, and I think he criticizes him for focusing too narrowly on market and monetary value as the real value of things, goods and people. It's the old saying about the price system and the economy, which know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. What does have value to Sandler is people's dignity, self-esteem, having a productive life. Even John Rawls' ideas about fairness and justice does he seem to have issues with. The idea that we can accept some kind of meritocracy as long as it benefits (all) other people more, when some people have more, get more, make more, is not one that Sandler finds, is right or just.
    He insists on the 'fact' that people without a college degree is frowned upon, people look down at them, and those who have gotten a college degree find themselves to be worthy, deserving of their privileges, while they have worked hard to get them. According to Sandel, a strong argument against meritocracy is that it breeds resentment between the 'deplorables' (Hilary Clinton's acrid term) and the meritorious. Yet, I would like to raise an objection. What society can Sandel point to, where there is no resentment between some groups or individuals? Has there ever been, and can there ever be? I'm somewhat skeptical on that point, yet it seems to be an important issue to Sandel - the striving for a society where everyone gets social recognition for their work, existence and effort. In many ways it's a laudable and humanistic goal, yet I'd like to ask whether he believes we can achieve something were everyone feels recognized to the full extent, which they fell entitled to. To paraphrase the bonmot about democracy, I still can't get rid of the suspicion that meritocracy is the worst and most unjust kind of societal order, except for all the others.
    I'm not a US citizen, but a Danish citizen, and as two meritocratic societies (Denmark and USA), there are differences. Education is free and a lot of effort is put into qualifying people for all kind of jobs in Denmark. And yet, resentment against other professions and chauvinism about one's own are rampant or ubiquitous. Everybody seems to find their attribution to be undervalued and others overvalued.
    Sandel also address the question of whether the meritocracy creates more wealth and prosperity. I believe that he does acknowledge that a free, meritocratic market economy, historically, has created more prosperity. Yet, it doesn't seem, in the end, to weigh in significantly, because it makes too many people superfluous. People don't just have a right and interest in becoming more prosperous, they also want to contribute and live meaningful lives. The American middle class appears to have become only marginally more prosperous, but have lost out on living a meaningful life and contributing to the common good.
    He might be right, but I also suspect that his perspective is somehow parochial, because the global economy has been a boon and a good fortune to billions of poor people in the world. Yet the moral drama played out in this book is a drama between a college-educated America and non-college-educated America. I suspect this as being a to narrow perspective. I would also have liked if he had taken issue with Robert Nozick's argument about that the distribution of goods are just, as long as it has happened through voluntary transactions. I can also find it mind-bugling and incredible, how some bankers, CEO's, investors get formidable remunerations, yet at the same time, if that is what it is worth to some very wealthy firms, individuals, investors, then who am I to say that it's wrong. I don't have a very good response to this argument. Especially not, if it's combined with an argument and data about how the system somehow does work for some common good like greater prosperity.

    Sandel has written an interesting book about merit(ocracy). I can't exactly recognize everything he writes about, and I suspect that part of the animosity and discontent with 'merit' stems from a unique American perspective and version of capitalism and meritocracy, which give to little room for, well, living.
    (Finally, I made a personal note about a section, where he tells about the argument about being "on the right side of history", which according to Sandell became a frequent figure of speech from Bill Clinton and forwards. I can use this in my classes about argumentation.)

    4 Leute fanden das hilfreich

    • Gesamt
      3 out of 5 stars
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    • Geschichte
      3 out of 5 stars

    Important topic, but could’ve been shorter

    The book touches upon a very important topic. However, it often feels repetitive and anecdotal. While important points are made throughout the book, these could’ve been presented in a much denser fashion.

    • Gesamt
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Sprecher
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    • Geschichte
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    Sehr empfehlenswert

    Ein sehr wichtiges Buch, wie ich finde. Sollte besonders für alle in politischen Funktionen Pflichtlektüre sein. Sehr angenehm zu hören und perfekt für unterwegs, da der Autor seine Argumente oft wiederholt.

    • Gesamt
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Sprecher
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    • Geschichte
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    Fascinating read

    I would recommend this book to all students, especially in business / managerial fields. It proposes refreshing views on our society and politics.

    • Gesamt
      5 out of 5 stars
    • Sprecher
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    • Geschichte
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    Very reasonable

    Well, of course the content can be compressed and the one philosphical chapter could be skipped. For hurry readers this is appearently an issue. But for me it is perfectly fine. So I got a deeper understanding of the author's ethic and moral ideas.
    And his explanation of today's class struggle is very plausible, not only in US but also across Europe.

    • Gesamt
      1 out of 5 stars

    horribly boring and mundane

    how can someone ever say nonsensical things and keep going on and on. awful author

    • Gesamt
      2 out of 5 stars
    • Sprecher
      1 out of 5 stars
    • Geschichte
      3 out of 5 stars

    Audio quality is the worst

    No professional production should sound like this. Recording it via the phone would yielded better audio quality.

    • Gesamt
      2 out of 5 stars
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    The European (not American) dream

    Merit? means anything between God's favour, quality of the meth you make and your effort.