Fed Chair Bernanke to Princeton Grads: Meritocracy Doesn't 'Pass Ethical Muster'

Fed Chair Bernanke to Princeton Grads: Meritocracy Doesn't 'Pass Ethical Muster'

Speaking at the Princeton University graduation in June, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke spelled out his political philosophy: from each according to his luck, to each according to his need. 

He explained that meritocracies were inherently unfair, and that those who were the luckiest needed to give back to society to make the concept of meritocracy work ethically.

“A meritocracy,” Bernanke said, “is a system in which the people who are the luckiest in their health and genetic endowment; luckiest in terms of family support, encouragement and, probably, income; luckiest in their educational and career opportunities; and luckiest in so many other ways difficult to enumerate — these are the folks who reap the largest rewards.”

What’s the solution to that natural imbalance? Bernanke explained: “The only way for even a putative meritocracy to hope to pass ethical muster, to be considered fair, is if those who are the luckiest in all of those respects also have the greatest responsibility to work hard, to contribute to the betterment of the world and to share their luck with others.”

Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).

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