Richard King on Meritocracy

Richard King in the Sydney Review of Books:

One would have to be a nihilist, of course, not to wish for an end to a pandemic that has claimed well over two and a half million lives. But for those of us interested in ‘interesting times’, and in the opportunities they open up, the global response to COVID-19 has not been without its political excitements. For the second time in twelve years governments around the world moved to underwrite a system that claims to need no government underwriting, with the result that many of the irrationalities of capitalism were thrown into relief. As incomes withered, or dried up completely, many people came to resent the extent to which their lives were governed by non-productive ownership – by rents and mortgages, principally, the profits from which are hoovered up by a parasitic property system and the financiers who sit atop it. At the same time, the invisible hand of the market was shown to be irrelevant to the needs of a society in crisis, while the speed with which the economy tanked, on the back of a dip in discretionary spending, revealed the basic absurdity of a system predicated on consumer choice.

Then there was the really important stuff.

More here.