Burn Down the Admissions System

Yascha Mounk in Persuasion:

A few years ago, I listened to Jim Yong Kim, then the President of the World Bank, address the Milken Global Conference, a gathering that is about as plutocratic as it sounds. At the start of his remarks, Kim told the multimillionaires and billionaires who made up the bulk of the audience an anecdote, which he seemed to consider charming, about how he got his job.

One day, while Kim was still in his previous job as the President of Dartmouth College, his assistant informed him of an unexpected phone call from Tim Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury. Kim immediately reached for a pen. Naturally, he said, he expected that Geithner would ask for some nephew or family friend of his to get special consideration in the admissions process, and Kim wanted to be ready to jot down the applicant’s name. But to his astonishment, that wasn’t the case: Geithner was actually calling to see whether he might be interested in running the World Bank! (Cue appreciative chuckles from the audience.)

What was remarkable about this anecdote is just how normalized these forms of influence-peddling are in America’s elite.

More here.