Monday, August 16, 2004

On Second Thought...

...I retract my implied praise of Will Wilkinson's Tech Central Station piece titled "Meritocracy: The Appalling Ideal?". I wasn't reading carefully enough to notice that Wilkinson, as he says in a followup post at The Fly Bottle, "didn't actually defend meritocracy in the TCS piece." As it turns out, Wilkinson is merely engaged in a meaningless metaphysical dialogue with a Rousseauvian socialist, one Chris Bertram. Wilkinson and his sparring partner are arguing about the degree to which market outcomes reflect economic merit, as if that were a discernible quantity, distinct from market outcomes. Talk about angels dancing on pin-heads.

I don't retract a word of what I said initially about merit, nor do I retract a word of what I've said since about Wilkinson's opponent. All of my previous posts on these two subjects are here, here, here, here, and here.