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    10.29.18 Ethics Presentation: The Meritocracy Trap (CLE)
    Law, Language & Cognition

    Monday, October 29
    5:15 p.m. Registration
    6 to 7:30 p.m. Program
    Reception to follow.

    Brooklyn Law School
    Subotnick Center
    250 Joralemon St.

    RSVP Online

    The Meritocracy Trap
    A Presentation by Daniel Markovits
    Guido Calabresi Professor of Law, Yale Law School

    About the Presentation
    The meritocratic ideal—that social and economic rewards should track achievement rather than breeding—anchors the self-image of the age. Aristocracy has had its day; and meritocracy is now a basic tenet of civil religion in all advanced societies.
    But an apt regard for training, skill, and industry has outgrown its proper purposes. Meritocracy places these virtues—immensely useful in moderation—into feed-back loops, through which they drive one another to ever-increasing extremes of hyper-development, generating massive economic inequality along the way. Meritocracy, embraced as the handmaiden of equality of opportunity, now concentrates advantage and sustains a toxic caste order.
    Meritocratic inequality no longer tracks any independent virtue but instead reconstitutes skill and industry in its own unbalanced image: skill attends no object besides eliteness itself; and even the most intense industry produces nothing of general value. The meritocratic caste order benefits no-one; and the once-genuine virtues that long-ago founded the meritocratic order are rendered useless, even to those who possess them.  
    Whatever its original purposes and early triumphs, meritocracy has become precisely what it was invented to combat. Merit itself is now a counterfeit virtue, a false idol, a sham.

    About the Presenter
    Daniel Markovits is Guido Calabresi Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He works in the philosophical foundations of private law, moral and political philosophy, and behavioral economics. He has written articles on contract, legal ethics, distributive justice, democratic theory, and other-regarding preferences. He has published books on contract law and legal ethics. His new book, Snowball Inequality: Meritocracy and the Crisis of Capitalism (under contract at Harvard University Press), will be published soon.
    Lawrence Solan
    Don Forchelli Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law, Language and Cognition, Brooklyn Law School

    CLE Credit Offered
    The program provides 1.5 CLE credits in the State of New York. Partial credit is not available. The credits are transitional and non-transitional and the category is Ethics. Brooklyn Law School may offer financial assistance to participants who meet certain qualifications and our financial aid policy is available at

    The cost of the program is $30, regardless of whether you attend for CLE credit.

    The program is free of charge for all faculty and students.
    Requests for a reasonable accommodation based on a disability to attend this event should be made to Louise Cohen, the BLS Reasonable Accommodations Coordinator, at or (718) 780-0377. Please make your request as soon as possible to determine whether the request can be granted.
    Sponsored by the Center for Law, Language & Cognition

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