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Daniel Markovits

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Daniel Markovits

Guido Calabresi Professor of Law, Yale Law School; Author, "The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite"
Daniel Markovits

Daniel Markovits is the Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School and the Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Private Law. Markovits publishes widely and in a range of disciplines, including law, philosophy, and economics. His writings have appeared in Science, The American Economic Review, The Yale Law Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, and The Atlantic. In 2021, Prospect Magazine named him to its list of the world’s top 50 thinkers. His current book, The Meritocracy Trap (Penguin Press, 2019), develops a sustained attack on American meritocracy. The meritocratic ideal—that people should get ahead based on their own accomplishments rather than their parents’ social class—has become our age’s literal common sense. Markovits argues, however, that both up and down the social ladder, meritocracy is a sham. Today, meritocracy has become exactly what it was invented to defeat—a new aristocracy, only now based on schooling rather than breeding. Upward mobility has become a fantasy, and the embattled middle class is more likely to sink into the working poor than to rise into the professional elite. At the same time, meritocracy ensnares even those who manage to claw their way to the top, trapping rich adults in a pitiless competition, which requires them to work with crushing intensity, exploiting their expensive educations in order to extract a return. Markovits is also working on two new books: Toleration or How to Disagree and Enough! The Good Life after the Age of Growth.

Visit Barnes & Noble to learn more about Daniel Markovits' latest book The Meritocracy Trap.