Is a system based on individual ability or achievement ruining society by creating a feeling of hubris in society's winners and resentment in its losers? In Mentally Unscripted episode 41, Paul and Scott review The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good? by Michael J. Sandel. In that book, the author claims that a merit-based system is destroying the common good.
In a system where we provide community assistance to those who suffer bad luck but no assistance to those who make bad choices, how do we distinguish between people who truly suffer bad luck and those who choose to not develop their talents? For example, a child may have a talent for math but instead of developing it to become a mathematician or accountant, the student skips school and doesn't graduate.
Would there be more opportunity for all and less of an income gap if the government stayed out of the market? If so, would that render the author's claims about meritocracy mute?
Should we replace merit with a civic minded common good or is it just too idealistic?