Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bruce Wilder

06.19.12 at 8:54 pm

Data Tutashkhia@63 makes a critically important point: money rewards are allowed to dominate all else in the great tournament of elite competition, with the predictable result that much of the elite is peopled by sociopaths.

The accumulation of money, as a result of this misguided method of scorekeeping, creates its own institutional pathologies.

mattski: “Meritocracy is an ideal more so than a reality. And what’s not to like about the ideal?”

James Michener used to tell a story about an Army unit in the South Pacific where the officer-in-charge, beleiving strongly in meritocracy, worked hard to support promotion and recognition for all the soldiers under his command, whom he identified as capable and meritorious. He worked hard at it, was judicious and objective and scrupulously fair. Eventually, he was removed from command and demoted, for his efforts.

His own soldiers respected his judgments and his relentlessness, but, over time, those, who were passed over, became completely demoralized and the unit’s morale and efficiency sank and, finally broke.

Every system of promotion and recognition, which I have seen work well in practice, balances the recognition of specific, high individual achievement with recognition of loyalty, longevity, team effort and that most dubious of virtues, persistence. A system of social and cultural values, which recognizes the capability is far less scarce than opportunity, and loyalty, idealism and integrity is far more valuable, socially, than the extremes of individual achievement, is healthier than what we have going on.

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