When Meritocracy Breeds Greed

Journalist Steven Brill discusses how the U.S. lost sight of the common good

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When people use their success to only help themselves and not the common good, is meritocracy failing?

According to journalist Steven Brill, that is cause and consequence of much of what ails American society today. Joined by INET President Rob Johnson and Better Markets President and CEO Dennis Kelleher, Brill discusses his new book Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America’s Fifty-Year Fall—and Those Fighting to Reverse It (Knopf, 2018).

Brill chronicles the erosion of the common good in American society. Congressional representatives are more in touch with their donors than their constituents. The executives who caused the financial crisis have avoided any criminal responsibility. And the middle class dream—that our children will be better off than us—is, in Brill’s words, “just not happening.” But, Brill also offers a hopeful look at the resilience of people who are speaking truth to power and challenging the economic, political, and social institutions that have fragmented the U.S.  

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