One of the favorite arguments of the swindlers who justify their own exploitation is the idea that capitalism is a system of “merit.” If you “work hard,” you get ahead. The people who are unemployed, underemployed, disgruntled or otherwise unhappy with their own situation should blame themselves. Oh yeah, and we don’t hire the the unemployed.
Take a look at monster.com or careerbuilder.com. I realize that a true job search entails far more than this, but I am proving a point. Everything is “this much experience, that much experience.” Is this merit, or is this seniority? What if a guy with a year of experience can do the job better than someone who has ten years? The people who look to hire others will never know because they have already narrowed the pool of competitors.
This is merit. You shoot a gun to start a marathon and the person who crosses the finish line first wins. When “Yuki Kawauchi” finished third in the Tokyo marathon despite working a full time job and not being a professional runner, nobody said “but your background isn’t a proper fit for the medal” or “your previous times weren’t fast enough, so your performance shouldn’t count.” No, he was not judged on his paper qualifications but on his performance. But I do not see merit in our corporate culture. What I see is that people are rewarded by how they look on paper to an extent, but really it is also “who you know” more than “what you know.” Our corporate culture has become so corrupt that employers even look for ideological matches now and search the internet for digital dirt. They are more interested in your facebook updates than your skills. But we never stop hearing about how capitalism is about merit.
A company has a good fiscal year and they make money, largely on the backs of employees. A company has a bad fiscal year and they lay off those employees who brought them the good year. Is this merit, or is this a case of people who have power and people who do not have power!? What competition did the owner “win” that made him the owner!? Does he have to defend his title every month? Does he cost less than the individual salaries of the people he is laying off in masses?
It is a fact that employers hire off of whims and that bosses often hire workers so they can later blame them if something goes wrong. I guess that is merit too. Hire someone, then screw up, then blame your employee.
Then you have the fact that a good idea has more potential in an established market monopoly than in someone’s garage. Let’s imagine that I had thought of the theoretical framework behind the ipod or Windows Operating System in a garage. Because I would not have possessed any means to bring the thought to reality, it would have been nothing more than a short day dream. Yet if someone such as the late Steve Jobs had the idea, he could have actually done something about it because he was rich and powerful and had access to the connections to do what he needed to do.
This article is mainly empirical. That means that this article is highly colored by my own views and I am not including citations or research. However, I think I am right! Capitalism is not a system of merit. It is a system of networking. I dare you to go to monster.com or careerbuilder.com if you doubt me. There are so many damn prerequisites that it gives the impression that today’s employers are more concerned with how someone looks on paper than how they actually perform. Capitalism isn’t meritocracy in any way. Free market? That means you are free to be a moron. Free to be incompetent! Even if your customers continue to support you, maybe they are idiots.
Then when you consider that the Government is funded by big business and protects big business, the revolving door makes American capitalism a global problem as the employing class controls the military as well. Of course the people who fight their greedy wars are the people who are unemployed through the fault of the mismanagement of the employing class. Seems like the system does not have a lot of “merit” to people who were not brainwashed by it, such as the Iraqis and Palestinians (granted religion is a form of brainwashing).