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Why Labor must embrace meritocracy ahead of the next election

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13.10.2019

"The idea that successful people deserve the economic rewards flowing from that success is a pernicious myth" or so Richard Reeve, Senior Fellow at US think tank the Brookings Institution, assured us in a recent opinion piece in The New York Times, opposing meritocracy.

There have been several recent books exploring the merits (or otherwise) of meritocracy. That such a meritorious concept as status and financial reward in society reflecting intellectual gifts and industriousness is being openly rejected makes it clear just how far down the rabbit hole we've come in so many ways. Reeve's statement should be considered extraordinary but it isn't.

Labor and Bill Shorten's rejection of meritocracy was punished at the polls. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

Of all the ways we have tried to organise society in the thousands of years of human existence, nothing has come close to creating the happiness and abundance of our capitalist meritocracy.

Those on the more socialist side of politics need to do some deep thinking about meritocracy in Australia. It is particularly relevant to both Labor's recent election loss and subsequent determination of its future direction.

Labor's election policy manifesto was, in effect, a radical rejection of Australian meritocracy. Signature policies targeted not the ultra-rich, or those who inherited huge sums of wealth, but ordinary people who worked hard and saved for an investment property. Or those who resented letting the superannuation industry clip their retirement........

© Canberra Times