Against Meritocracy

& BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-12-28 Tu: If you have a test or another activity to select who is “the best”, you had better make damned sure that the test or activity accurately measures or reflects what you really want done. In the limit, you optimize for test-takers—and people who have devoted all of their time to become expert test-takers have spent none of their time learning to do anything else. They are thus likely to be far from “the best” at what will be their real job. How can you tell if you are falling into this trap? Divide your population up into groups. See how well the best test-takers are spread out among those groups, If there is no reason to think that those who will actually be best at the real job are anything other than uniformly distributed among the groups you have chosen, and yet if it turns out that those who score highest on the test are strongly concentrated—then it is highly likely that you are missing huge numbers of potential candidates, and wasting a huge amount of talent. Rajiv Sethi ran across a very interesting paper on Finland that is on point here...

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