You can’t ignore the increasing crossover and interconnectedness of Academics and Economics. The relationship between these two are becoming increasingly publicized as mirror images or exclusively linked, but not in the ways you’d think.
The stronger your financial position, the higher the chances you’ll get into an ‘elite’ education institution. The more ‘elite’ institution, the greater the chance you’ll really achieve wealth/status. Many writers have explored this phenomenon; however, none more influential than Ron Unz’s latest article “The Myth of American Meritocracy.”
The article reveals the incredible extent that socio-economical strength dictates ‘success’ under the facade of elite academics to drive the now perceived illusion of work effect and the American Dream. Ron Unz exposes, however frightfully, that it’s not meritocracy being rewarded by seemingly high levels of education and therefore social success, but simple politics and economics. Admissions into universities is not a race for premier student selection of the brightest, most highly trained, and highly disciplined students on the planet, but rather a hand-picked demographic unbelievably slanted toward finances and political background.
This current covert system and policies only perpetuate and further establish what is a modern day cast system furthering the economic divide and perpetuating the social elitism. Distribution of wealth and its perpetuation links universities to further lope-siding the status quo while hiding behind the idea of a ‘well rounded individual.’
‘The Myth of American Meritocracy’ reveals prejudices in methodology of following trends, mountains, and valleys of the discriminated minorities of their time.
Harvard’s endowment is now over 30 billion dollars and the Admissions Department that gives such huge support to squash, rowing, and legacy members does nothing but perpetuate the ‘education’ of the best to keep investing in their future. The higher the social capital the better!
Private tutoring, entry fees in sports clubs, prep testing, entrance into private boarding schools, and high end resources go a long way in supplying a better advantage for admissions. Unz also says “its nice if your dad plays polo with the Admissions Director.”
I’ve always thought America truly has a university for everyone. But unfortunately it’s also becoming increasingly apparent that each individual should only strive to small measures higher than their current social status.
To me, the article and the American education system has a mix of ‘the death of the American Dream,’ the rise of neo-liberalism, and the illusion of how this all makes sense. Ivy Leagues seemingly deal in capital. Initially, Unz describes that Harvard dealt purely in academic capital but this obviously has drastically shifted. It now reflects less importance on academics and more on human, social, and economic capital than ever. ‘Does wealth dictate education or education dictate wealth?’ It seems that Unz isn’t confused.
A further example of this is seen in Mike Russel’s Massive Open Online Revenue Generating Entities, which talks about how elite colleges prioritize status over economics and as admissions reveal this isn’t done through academics.
“Elite colleges are ultimately in the business of maximizing status, not revenue. Spending a lot of money on things that return a lot of status isn’t just feasible for these institutions—it’s their basic operating principle.”
American society has similarly made the dream of achieving these institutions beyond the reach of ‘us’ mere peasants.
Who Stole the American Dream? “Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Hedrick Smith reveals a series of events and decisions that have contributed to today’s disparity in wealth and political power. The country is divided sharply and extremely by money, by political power, and by ideology. We have enormous, gaping inequalities of income. And along with that, we have exaggerated and unequal political power exercised by corporate America and by the wealthy, particularly between elections, through masses of lobbyists working in Washington.”