Smart + Stupid = inequality

The seven components of success are birth, wealth, health, expertise, luck, appearance, and intelligence. Categories are not all inclusive and each can be leveraged to acquire or compensate for others - with one exception. Intelligence can leverage the others but cannot be leveraged by them. Beyond that, our society through its technology and organizations has been relentlessly devaluing all the others, leaving intelligence as dominant determiner of success.

Intelligence is a slippery concept, but we all can identify it when we see it and we know it is not fairly distributed. Even when broadened (as we must do) it to include emotional intelligence or multiple intelligences it is clear that some people have a lot more than others. As our society becomes more meritocratic, intelligence is worth more and more.

Remove barriers and smart people get ahead. An analogy would be a racecar and an old beater. When driving through a congested city, with lots of barriers, traffic and stoplights, the racecar may or may not be able to get ahead of the beater, but it can't get very far ahead. But put them on a straight new highway without speed limits and the racecar will soon be miles ahead. Our society has been removing the speed bumps, congestion and speed limits to success. It will inevitably lead to more inequality of outcomes.

So what do we do?

Posted by Jack at July 24, 2005 9:11 PM