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Tom Mulligan's Workshop on Meritocracy

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Sep 29
1:00pm - 4:00pm
Political Theory Project, 8 Fones Alley

The Political Theory Project is delighted to host a workshop for our postdoctoral research associate, Tom Mulligan on Tuesday, September 29 from 1-4 pm. Tom invited Gregory Mankiw (Harvard) and George Sher (Rice) to provide insight and feedback on his work. 

Tom will talk about how meritocracy suffuses our political discourse, and the meritocratic ideal is an important part of the American national ethos. Yet within philosophy, the concept has received almost completely ignored. In his paper, he proposes and outlines a meritocratic theory of economic justice. Meritocracy is grounded in widely-held intuitions and is an alternative to the theories of justice that have dominated the debate. Egalitarians tend to think that the "fortune" of our genetic and social circumstances precludes the possibility of deserving anything at all, but something is amiss, as a matter of justice, when the lazy and the industrious are rewarded alike. Libertarians, on the other hand, rely on the free market to distribute wealth and income, but the market produces gargantuan inequalities that fail to give people what they deserve. The egalitarian and the libertarian are wrong. Meritocracy is a third, better way of thinking about justice.