There is a long history of privilege in British society with the great and the good benefiting in a way that is not possible for rank and file members of society. Only seven per cent in Britain are privately educated, and yet this section of society makes up 71pc of senior judges, 62pc of the senior armed forces and 55pc of permanent government secretaries.
Research shows that because of this bias leading British institutions are less informed, less representative and, ultimately, less credible than they should be, meaning they focus on issues that are of importance only to a minority but not the majority in society.
I’ve been reading about American meritocracy and the ensuing failings we are witnessing in society at large. There is a strong argument to support the claim that admission to prestigious schools and other institutions designed to reward merit are being gamed by the privileged.
Through the creating of a self-perpetuating elite those who climb the ladder will always find a way to lower the ladder down at the appropriate moment to allow their friends and family to scramble up.
Today the intense competition in place results in meritocracy creating powerful incentives to cheat and encourages the attitude that whatever you do in the pursuit of dominance is fine if you win or profit.
A young Iraqi war veteran and a graduate from a US university in the top 60 rankings was quoted as saying “I’ve lost faith in the leadership of my parents’ generation”. Why has my generation plumbed to such depths when it comes to our leadership?
Smartness or intelligence is necessary to fill the most important positions both in the private and public sectors in all economies. Being smart is for me only part of the total requirement we should demand from any individual.
Beyond smartness, there are many other core competencies great leaders should have such as honesty, wisdom, a sense of fairness, empathy, ethical rigour and importantly being someone others want as their leader who they will follow.
I’d like to end this piece by focusing on intuition as a requirement for the leaders of today. Intuition is a mysterious, powerful and subtle ability that we all possess. It is something we are born with and it is something we can develop.
Intuition is not imperative to our survival, but it does hold a place of tremendous importance in relation to our physical and spiritual well-being, our creative self-expression and our ability to understand ourselves, others and the experience of life itself.
With a highly tuned intuition, we can better perceive the truth; we can perceive the real nature, the true state, of a person, a situation, or ourselves. This is something that comes from within us providing us with the ability to have greater competences when it comes to instinct and feelings.
Finally, if rich Americans are playing the system to illegitimately increase their wealth and the wealth of their friends and family the answer is reform of the system. Simply put to correct the excesses of today requires one simple action; ‘make America more equal again’.