My concerns about the alleged “hereditary meritocracy” aren’t the same as Paul Caron’s:
Intellectual capital drives the knowledge economy, so those who have lots of it get a fat slice of the pie. And it is increasingly heritable. Far more than in previous generations, clever, successful men marry clever, successful women. Such “assortative mating” increases inequality by 25%, by one estimate, since two-degree households typically enjoy two large incomes. Power couples conceive bright children and bring them up in stable homes—only 9% of college-educated mothers who give birth each year are unmarried, compared with 61% of high-school dropouts. They stimulate them relentlessly: children of professionals hear 32m more words by the age of four than those of parents on welfare. They move to pricey neighbourhoods with good schools, spend a packet on flute lessons and pull strings to get junior into a top-notch college.
I have a number of problems with that including:
- Not all smart people are well-to-do.
- Not all well-to-do people are smart.
- There is a natural predisposition to want your children to be at least as successful as you’ve been and to take steps to see that happens.
- There’s a rising body of scholarship suggesting that emotional intelligence, social and emotional capabilities, are better predictors of success than cognitive abilities.
- Emotional intelligence tends not to be tested for.
- Emotional intelligence while apparently somewhat heritable is not as heritable as cognitive intelligence see here.
- After two standard deviations there’s not much correlation between Q and financial success. There may even be an inverse correlation.
My SAT scores are the same as Bill Gates’s (but reversed). My income and wealth aren’t a hundredth of his.
In ancient China jobs in the massive civil bureaucracy were predicated on passing the civil service examination. That meant that in theory the smart kid of a peasant could get a guaranteed well-paying job for life. In practice the system was corrupted so that the children of the rich, regardless of innate ability, always passed. IMO that’s the way any “merit” system will inevitably work out.