Is Meritocracy Worth Saving? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Is Meritocracy Worth Saving?

In 1958, the British sociologist-politician Michael Young coined the term “meritocracy” in a book in which he critiqued systems based on individual merit. But to Young’s chagrin, his book was widely interpreted as a celebration of the idea that people should advance according to their talents rather than their birth. More recently, the pendulum has swung back in Young’s intended …

Is it Time to Throw Away Our Resumes? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Is it Time to Throw Away Our Resumes?

We are failing Americans without college degrees. Research shows that up to 30 million workers without four-year degrees are drastically underpaid, and have the skills to earn 70 percent more than what they’re currently making. What accounts for this failure of the labor market? One problem is that traditional resumes don’t show or verify the full range of a worker’s …

Will a New Generation of Leaders Shake Up L.A.’s Culture? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Will a New Generation of Leaders Shake Up L.A.’s Culture?

Over the past year, directors of cultural institutions across Los Angeles have announced their retirements, which means a new generation of cultural leadership is upon us. But despite a desire for change that seems nearly universal, new directors must still answer to many of the same funders and face the same pressures as their predecessors—to raise money or sell tickets, …

How Could Less Red Tape Make Societies More Equal? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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How Could Less Red Tape Make Societies More Equal?

To merely open a bank account or secure a driver’s license, people around the world face one common barrier: paperwork. Americans, in fact, spend 11.4 billion hours a year on federal paperwork alone. Harvard legal scholar Cass R. Sunstein, former administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has a name for this kind of drudgery: sludge. …

Is Cutthroat Science Hindering Discovery? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Is Cutthroat Science Hindering Discovery?

Laboratories around the world are under fire for their lack of diversity, a culture of harassment and bullying, rigid hierarchies, and research that cannot be reproduced. Is the entire research system to blame? Our model of funding individual scientists encourages cutthroat competition rather than a cooperative infrastructure better tailored to solving our biggest problems. In a recent article for Issues …

Can California Help America Reduce Gun Violence? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
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Can California Help America Reduce Gun Violence?

The United States has more firearms (390 million) than people (325 million), routinely experiences mass shootings, and suffers rates of gun violence far higher than other wealthy countries. California has touted itself as a safer model, with the most gun regulations in the country, the 44th lowest rate of gun violence among the 50 states, and a 9 percent decrease …