Meritocracy versus lottocracy.

Now I know binary choices are very much in vogue; from the underpinning binary code of computers to in or out referendums and the American farce, but it’s my blog so I’ll have a binary if I want to. Listening to Mr Sandel on the radio yesterday whilst driving to old Sarum yesterday to flog my wares at market, as many have done for millenia, the binary of the title was discussed and caused me to think anew. I’d not heard of the term ‘lottocracy’ until yesterday, it’s simply the choosing by lottery of such as politicians.

Meritocracy posits that leaders and other ‘successful’ folk achieve their positions through intelligence and hard work (drumf immediately proves this fallacious). Michael Young wrote a book a year after my birth scorning the idea of meritocracy suggesting that: “merit is equated with intelligence-plus-effort, its possessors are identified at an early age and selected for appropriate intensive education, and there is an obsession with quantification, test-scoring, and qualifications.” We can certainly see how the relatively recent rise of the meritocrats has resulted in a very unhealthy obsession with scoring, testing and quantifying throughout society, just look at the way all educational establishments now operate. What it has also done is give the successful ones a dangerous sense of self-worth, that they deserve their status and obscene wealth, and obversely that the rest, the poor plebs, also deserve their little lot in life.

We now have in this country an extremely unhealthy marriage of this quasi-meritocracy and our deeply embedded class system, the evidence is all around as ineptitude in senior management and government leads to poor services, think southern rail, poor government, think the imposition of an ill-thought through EU referendum, at a more local level the poor management decisions at my old school that have led to chaos and interim management who are returning to the previous system of working and the appalling industrial relations within Duncan’s Unctions.

So how could having a lottery be any better (how could it be any worse, the current system has the fucking grinning gargoyle’s ugly mug too often on our screens)? Sam Harris, an interesting Yank philosopher, stated that a random choice of any person would be better than drumf. But there is a long history of using lotteries for elections:

As this piece begins:

“It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot, and as oligarchic when they are filled by election.”

Aristotle (Politics IV. 9, 1294b8)

Anyway, I’m going to explore this a little more and suggest that we introduce it to local elections in Swanage as the tt hegemony which has been in place for many generations is somewhat ossified.

Time for a Kliban:


Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.



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