Monday, 16 March 2015


I heart Nick Cohen on free speech in universities.

Robert Putnam has a new book out on the rise in inequality of opportunity in the US. I bet it will be good. I wonder that nobody has mentioned Michael Young's name. (He is an unsung hero of mine.) Young pointed out that while the arbitrary inequality of a traditional society was unjust, the inequality that comes from meritocracy can be more harmful, embittering and persistent. In a meritocratic society, the people who end up poor are not just unlucky - they have also less talent and skill than those who end up rich. But since many aspects of talent and skill are passed down from parents to children, this can perpetuate cycles of inequality where the poor know that they have no hope of ever rising up in society. Hardly the American Dream. I still don't know of anybody who thought more seriously than Young about this.