Michael Sandel: 'The populist backlash has been a revolt against the tyranny of merit'

Labor Power

Source: Julian Coman
Affiliation: The Guardian

In this article, Coman explains the views on meritocracy of Michael Sandel, one of the leading critics of free-market orthodoxy today. Sandel believes that the progressive movement is fighting for the right things, but often in the wrong ways. He argues that the left's emphasis on the idea of meritocracy, wherein we create a level playing field so that any individual can socially rise of their own merit, has resulted in the abandonment of working class values and collective movements like unions. It has turned the left into "moralising life-coaches," and feeds into a culture of workaholics hellbent on career advancement, rather than fellow travellers in a fight for dignity and rights for everyone. The pandemic, he says, offers us an opportunity to right the ship, and to see the value even of uneducated, low-skilled workers. 

Keywords: Community , Democracy , Government , Meritocracy , Politics , Rights