The Perils of Meritocracy
— October 27, 2020
By Mervyn King
The divisiveness in our societies has many causes. But its consequences reach further than political disharmony. As Anne Case and Angus Deaton have shown, “deaths of despair” from suicide, drug addiction and alcohol-related diseases have lowered the life expectancy of white Americans. The mortality of college graduates has been broadly stable; the life expectancy of people without a degree has fallen markedly. After the Brexit referendum in Britain, the most frequently advanced explanation of voting behavior was educational attainment.
Education, we all believe, is a good thing. Former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair famously promised that his top three priorities in government would be “education, education, education.” That’s how you create a classless society in which people advance on merit.
Read the full Bloomberg article.
Lord Mervyn King is the Alan Greenspan Professor of Economics and a professor of Economics and Law, a joint appointment with New York University School of Law.