The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?

The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?

by Michael J. Sandel

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Overview

A Times Literary Supplement’s Book of the Year 2020
A New Statesman's Best Book of 2020
A Bloomberg's Best Book of 2020
A Guardian Best Book About Ideas of 2020

The world-renowned philosopher and author of the bestselling Justice explores the central question of our time: What has become of the common good?

These are dangerous times for democracy. We live in an age of winners and losers, where the odds are stacked in favor of the already fortunate. Stalled social mobility and entrenched inequality give the lie to the American credo that "you can make it if you try". The consequence is a brew of anger and frustration that has fueled populist protest and extreme polarization, and led to deep distrust of both government and our fellow citizens—leaving us morally unprepared to face the profound challenges of our time.

World-renowned philosopher Michael J. Sandel argues that to overcome the crises that are upending our world, we must rethink the attitudes toward success and failure that have accompanied globalization and rising inequality. Sandel shows the hubris a meritocracy generates among the winners and the harsh judgement it imposes on those left behind, and traces the dire consequences across a wide swath of American life. He offers an alternative way of thinking about success—more attentive to the role of luck in human affairs, more conducive to an ethic of humility and solidarity, and more affirming of the dignity of work. The Tyranny of Merit points us toward a hopeful vision of a new politics of the common good.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374289980
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 09/15/2020
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 12,158
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Michael J. Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University. His books What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets and Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? were international best sellers and have been translated into 27 languages. Sandel’s legendary course “Justice” was the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and has been viewed by tens of millions. His BBC series “The Public Philosopher” explores the philosophical ideas lying behind the headlines with participants from around the world.

Table of Contents

Prologue 3

Introduction: Getting In 7

1 Winners and Losers 17

2 "Great Because Good": A Brief Moral History of Merit 33

3 The Rhetoric of Rising 59

4 Credentialism: The Last Acceptable Prejudice 81

5 Success Ethics 113

6 The Sorting Machine 155

7 Recognizing Work 197

Conclusion: Merit and the Common Good 223

Notes 229

Acknowledgments 259

Index 261

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