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Meritocracy: A Science Perspective and More University Data
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Although my Meritocracy article focused primarily on public policy issues—the admissions systems of our elite academic institutions—it necessarily touched on some scientific ones as well. Therefore, it is quite heartening to see that a detailed 1500 word summary and discussion of the piece has now been published by the Genetic Literary Project, affiliated with George Mason University, and written by its Executive Director, Jon Entine. Entine, an award-winning former broadcast and print science journalist, has previously authored several prominent books focusing on the interplay between genetic and ethnic issues, including Taboo in 2001 and Abraham’s Children in 2007.

And as someone who has been a continuous subscriber to The Economist since 1979, I was extremely gratified at the very generous remarks made by one of its current top editors, who also went on to describe TAC as “the most interesting conservative mag in America.”

In addition, I was recently contacted by one of the undergraduate editors of the student newspaper at a top American university outside the Ivy League, who was interested in exploring the racial admissions statistics at her own school. Unfortunately, although such data is all available on the website of the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), the format provided is extremely cumbersome and difficult to use, and originally took me quite a while to process for my own investigation.

Although the student was ultimately able to obtain the desired figures from her own school administrators, I decided to address the issue in a more general way, and have now provided a small utility on my personal website, allowing anyone to quickly locate the 1980-2011 racial enrollment trends for any of the thousands of universities in America: just type in part of the name, press Search, and click on the desired choice. One hopes that many investigative journalists—including those currently attending the colleges in question—will begin casting a suspicious eye on the allegedly unbiased admissions decisions made each year by America’s leading and often holier-than-thou academic institutions.



Finally, as I recently pointed out, it appears likely that the average American family is poorer today in real dollar terms than they were fifty years ago, an astonishing development, and one which is perhaps almost unique among the countries of either Europe or Asia, rich and poor alike. Strangely enough, this untoward trend has received negligible coverage in the major political American media, with one reason presumably being the enormous current prosperity enjoyed in the Washington D.C. region, whose general affluence has greatly blossomed over the last decade, during both Republican and Democratic administrations, and now ranks according to many measures as the wealthiest area of the country. Capital cities that grow richer and richer as the rest of their countries grow poorer and poorer have most commonly been found in the less successful Third World countries of the post-WWII Era, which may or may not be an indicator of anything. But in any event, the perspective of the parasite is always quite different than the perspective of the host.

As a very minor byproduct of these trends, office rents have been steadily rising in the DC environs, and The American Conservative has therefore been forced to relocate, moving into shared office space with the liberal American Prospect, a strange-bedfellows human-interest situation which drew a recent notice in the New York Times.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Meritocracy 
The Meritocracy Series
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  1. Adam says:

    “Finally, as I recently pointed out, it appears likely that the average American family is poorer today in real dollar terms than they were fifty years ago, an astonishing development, and one which is perhaps almost unique among the countries of either Europe or Asia, rich and poor alike.”

    How much do you think is related to education? Tax treatment? Financialization? Immigration? Etc, etc. I rarely even see mention on the liberal side of the ledger. Krugman took a small swipe at it earlier in the month and then seemed to forget about it while promoting the Platinum Coin nonsense. Why does the Republican Party insist on getting rid of “entitlements” when they are likely to be the only source of income for the vast majority of the elderly in the not so distant future? What broke around the late 70’s when post WWII production gains through that point for fairly evenly distributed amongst all earning levels? How much better would our economy be today if that distribution pattern had continued?

  2. cka2nd says:


    I’ve seen liberals and progressives point to union-busting, “free trade,” financialization and education (the last wrongly, in my far-left view) in publications like The Nation. Immigration less so, and that because immigrants – legal or illegal – are just as stiffed on the union front as non-immigrant workers.

    What broke starting in the 70’s was deregulation (begun under Carter, extended under Reagan and Clinton), union-busting and the billion-dollar industry of “union avoidance” (a largely Republican affair, but wait for it…), and civil service “reform,” privatization and contracting out (enthusiastically adopted by Dems and GOP’ers alike at the state level, and applied to the feds by Carter, Clinton/Gore and, haphazardly, Bush II). All backed up by a well-financed industry of pundits and think tanks on the right, supplemented by neo-liberals and New Democrats in the political center (and aided by a host of supposedly liberal Democratic mayors, governors and legislators).

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