The tyranny of Merit by Michael J. Sandel explores the shortcomings of meritocracy. It was relatively eye opening in the sense that it reveals how inbuilt in our society is.

It starts with the religious and secular origins of meritocracy, permeating into current culture and politics. It suggests that because it makes people either out of the merit train or feel hubris about being in, it is the source of the discontent fuelling populist movements like Trump and Brexit.

The philosophical angle is also explored. The links to liberalism and it taking over most political forces that have access to power.

Another chapter deals with education, more specifically with universities and the United States SAT as a “sorting machine” and how that continues all the way to the Harvards and Yales of the world.

On the solutions, it brought some memories to “Requiem for the American Dream”, a Noam Chomsky book and documentary explaining that inequality excludes people success and that leads to instability. The solutions are about bringing back some honour to every job and make everybody feel fulfilled. I thought this exploration between a society of consumers versus a more desirable society of producers was well described.