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What’s wrong with meritocracy?

What’s wrong with meritocracy?

In the first episode of Reading Our Times, Nick Spencer talks to leading political philosopher Michael Sandel about the pitfalls of meritocracy. 15/09/2020

Presidents, prime ministers, and pundits all love to praise meritocracy, the dream of a society in which we can go as far as our talents and hard work take us. But what if that dream is actually a nightmare? 

Nick Spencer talks to leading political philosopher Michael Sandel about the pitfalls of meritocracy, and traces the roots of these tensions all the way back to a fifth–century theological debate.

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Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode

The Tyranny of Merit by Michael Sandel

 Merit, justice and liberalism: getting to the heart of Michael Sandel

Theos Annual Lecture 2020 with Michael Sandel

The dignity of work: making it a reality

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Nick Spencer

Nick Spencer

Nick is Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, including Magisteria: the entangled histories of science and religion (Oneworld, 2023), The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). He is host of the podcast Reading Our Times.

Watch, listen to or read more from Nick Spencer

Posted 15 September 2020

Meritocracy, Philosophy, Politics, Reading Our Times


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