« 'political correctness' revisited | Main | new report on employee ownership: All Of Our Business »

December 30, 2011


Griffin Bur

This is a great post. 'Meritocracy is a paradoxical thing, best pursued obliquely' is a great encapsulation of that idea; and I think you really hit the nail on the head by pointing out that the whole positivist thing of refusing to admit that tests /become/ institutions is at best kind of blind and at worst sort of devious.

Lucy Johnson

Thank you Will.


A brilliant post - thanks, and Happy New Year.

This all reflects the triumph of utilitarianism and its descendants, hedonic individualism and economic neoliberalism. For both, institutions represent what Avner Offer calls 'commitment devices' that bind people to tradition and to deferment of desire in favour of future generations. This is intolerable as a constraint on equality and on marketisation. The neoliberals of left and right reject the benefits of ethos, ritual and organic evolution of norms: all that counts is legislation for virtue ('PC') and for market accountability. We are then amazed that we have such a thin public discourse on ethics and values, and so few defences against commoditisation.
And just to rub it in to all us Burkean Orwellian Democratic Socialists, Peter Bazalgette, one of the emblematic figures of the neoliberal era, has just been knighted.

The comments to this entry are closed.