A shadow on Meritocracy
Debunking the myth of Talent and Success
How success and wealth are related to talent? Are the richest the most talented? What are the most effective strategies to bring out the talent and reduce inequalities? What is the role of context? Starting from a scientific paper by the professors Biondo, Pluchino and Rapisarda, University of Catania (Italy), we explore all these themes and what implies in our lives.
From the abstract: “The largely dominant meritocratic paradigm is rooted on the belief that success is due mainly to personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, skills, smartness, efforts, willfulness, hard work or risk taking. It is very well known that intelligence (or, more in general, talent and personal qualities) exhibits a Gaussian distribution among the population, whereas the distribution of wealth – often considered a proxy of success – follows typically a power law (Pareto law), with a large majority of poor people and a very small number of billionaires. If it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by mediocre but sensibly luckier individuals. As to our knowledge, this counterintuitive result – although implicitly suggested between the lines in a vast literature – is quantified here for the first time. It sheds new light on the effectiveness of assessing merit on the basis of the reached level of success and underlines the risks of distributing excessive honors or resources to people who, at the end of the day, could have been simply luckier than others. With the help of this model, several policy hypotheses are also addressed and compared to show the most efficient strategies for public funding of research in order to improve meritocracy, diversity and innovation.” more on http://www.pluchino.it/talent-vs-luck.html
Shot on RED