The Tyranny of Merit - What's Become of the Common Good?

Author(s): Michael J. Sandel

Political | September 2020 | New Non-Fiction

A world-famous political philosopher, and the bestselling author of Justice, reveals the driving force behind the resurgence of populism: the tyranny of the meritocracy and the resentments it produces. Our politics are fraught with rancor and resentment. Decades of rising inequality and stalled mobility have fueled a populist revolt against elites. But while the pundits focus on wages and jobs, they are missing a big part of the story: social esteem, and the broader moral dimensions of our current crisis. In recent decades, mainstream politicians across the aisle--from Reagan to Obama--have offered a rhetoric of rising: everyone should be given an equal chance to get ahead. But the relentless focus on "equal opportunity" ignores the morally corrosive attitudes that even a fair meritocracy generates. Among the winners, it generates hubris; among the losers, humiliation. Meritocratic hubris reflects the tendency of winners to inhale too deeply of their success, to forget the luck and good fortune that helped them on their way. It diminishes our capacity to see ourselves as sharing a common fate and leaves little room for the solidarity that can arise when we reflect on the contingency of our talents and fortunes. More than a protest against immigrants, outsourcing, and stagnant wages, the populist complaint is about the tyranny of merit. And the complaint is justified. In The Tyranny of Merit, a searing critique of contemporary public discourse, Michael J. Sandel, "the world's most relevant living philosopher" (Newsweek), diagnoses our political moment by seeking out its moral underpinnings. He highlights the hubris a meritocracy fosters among the winners and the indignities it inflicts on those left behind. And he offers an alternative way of thinking about success--more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility, and more hospitable to a politics of the common good. A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus and Giroux "This is a remarkable book about justice. In his unique and powerful moral voice, Michael Sandel digs at the roots of our divisions, dissects the causes of inequality, and dismantles the lazy orthodoxy of those on the left and the right. Accessible and profound, The Tyranny of Merit is a revelatory assessment of pervasive unfairness in our society, driven in part by a naïve and myopic reliance on the notion of merit. In a time of easy rhetoric and thoughtless tribalism, this provocative book is a must-read for anyone who still cares about the common good. You will catch yourself wondering, again and again, 'Why have I never thought of it that way?' No good faith reader will come away from this book unchanged."--Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Author of Doing Justice: A Prosecutor's Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law "Astute, insightful, and empathetic, Sandel exposes the cruelty at the heart of some of our most beloved myths about success. A must-read for anyone struggling to understand populist resentment, and why, for many Americans, the American Dream has come to feel more like a taunt than a promise. This book is just what we need right now."--Tara Westover, author of Educated "The Tyranny of Merit deftly exposes the flaws and fallacies of meritocratic philosophy. In lucid, illuminating prose, Sandel makes a compelling case for uprooting inequality and building a fairer society shaped by true principles of justice. A seminal work."--Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

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Product Information

General Fields

  • : 9780241407592
  • : Penguin Books, Limited
  • : Allen Lane
  • : September 2020
  • : ---length:- '24'width:- '15.6'units:- Centimeters
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Michael J. Sandel
  • : Hardback
  • : English
  • : 256