Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

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Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby kalm » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:11 am

The uber-competitiveness of American culture has its negative sides too.

I witnessed this first hand with PGA Junior League which was a great concept modeled after other rec sports (including uni's) to introduce beginning and novice youth golfers to the game in an easy and light competitive team format. The thought was, the elite junior golfers already have the resources and support to exceed so let's provide something for the rest. The casual kids who play with grandpa once in a while and might play more if they got a taste of competition.

Within 3 years, it was practices 5 nights a week and all the elite junior players in our area using it as a further training ground and then galavanting across the Western US in the playoffs hoping to reach Nationals in Arizona in the fall. The kids in my program lost interest due to getting their ass kicked by 10 year olds dressed in $250 worth of Puma gear who could all break 40 for 9 holes (a few were around par) and even knew how to throw clubs and temper tantrums.

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The predictable rejoinder to the inequality of kids’ sports is basically: The system works just fine. Many famous athletes come from poor backgrounds, and some of them owe their careers to specialized super teams. Besides, one might argue, even though super teams for gifted and sufficiently wealthy young people might leave disadvantaged kids behind, this is simply the price that society must pay for excellence. It’s a version of a familiar conservative economic argument about the general economy: The U.S. has the world’s smartest people, because we celebrate success and punish indolence; so we should cut taxes on the rich and unwind collectivist welfare programs, which only dampen the nation’s competitive mojo.

But just as Europe offers alternative models for balancing equality and efficiency in the overall economy, it also offers alternative models for youth sports.

For example, Norway’s youth-sports policies are deliberately egalitarian. The national lottery, which is run by a government-owned company called Norsk Tipping, spends most of its profit on national sports and funnels hundreds of millions of dollars to youth athletic clubs every year. Parents don’t need to shell out thousands to make sure their kids get to play. And play is an operative word: Norwegian leagues value participation over competition so much that clubs with athletes below the age of 13 cannot even publish game scores. Remarkably, teams that release their scores online can face expulsion from the Norwegian confederation of sports.

It might seem like any country’s athletic prowess would atrophy under such socialist and anticompetitive policies. Instead, Norway is an athletic juggernaut. In the last Winter Olympics, the country won 39 medals—the most of any country in the history of the Games and nearly twice as many as the United States. It did so with a smaller population than Minnesota’s.

The U.S. sees itself as a land of winners bred by a culture of fierce competition that rewards success. But in youth sports, that competition doesn’t happen—excuse the metaphor—on a level playing field.


https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archi ... 0BjnddUkvk
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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby CAA Flagship » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:32 am

You sure are the king of isms. :ohno:

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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby Pwns » Fri Nov 09, 2018 6:51 am

The U.S. sees itself as a land of winners bred by a culture of fierce competition that rewards success. But in youth sports, that competition doesn’t happen—excuse the metaphor—on a level playing field.


That must be why college football and basketball is full of white, privileged elite-prep-school boys.

It might seem like any country’s athletic prowess would atrophy under such socialist and anticompetitive policies. Instead, Norway is an athletic juggernaut. In the last Winter Olympics, the country won 39 medals—the most of any country in the history of the Games and nearly twice as many as the United States. It did so with a smaller population than Minnesota’s.


Athletic juggernaut? Because it does well in games requiring snow and ice? Remind me again which country had almost as many medals as any two countries combined in 2016?

I mean, I do kind of sympathize with the point that once you get to a certain age youth sports suck for people who just want to play casually and aren't looking to get a college scholarship or a sponsor for a professional tournament. But beyond that, that article isn't overly compelling.
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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby Baldy » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:07 am

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Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby andy7171 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:36 am

That’s why there are rec sports leagues and travel/club level sports. If your kid isn’t really interested in sports but you want them outside exercising, making friends and having fun. Choose rec. What’s the problem?


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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby kalm » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:19 am

andy7171 wrote:That’s why there are rec sports leagues and travel/club level sports. If your kid isn’t really interested in sports but you want them outside exercising, making friends and having fun. Choose rec. What’s the problem?


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It’s not a suggestion that we shouldn’t have elite youth sports more an observation about wealth inequality based on the numbers that families who can afford expensive club sports are invmcreasimg participation while the less fortunate’s numbers are in decline.

Another parallel, similar to Norway’s success with sports, would be the fact Finland, who gets some of the highest education rankings in the world, has no private schools and forbids tuition. What happens to public schools if the Koch brother’s kids had to attend them? Would they go lacking for resources or upgrades?
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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby 89Hen » Fri Nov 09, 2018 9:45 am

kalm wrote:It’s not a suggestion that we shouldn’t have elite youth sports more an observation about wealth inequality based on the numbers that families who can afford expensive club sports are invmcreasimg participation while the less fortunate’s numbers are in decline.

Another parallel, similar to Norway’s success with sports...

This is as stupid as looking to Iceland for banking ideas kalm. Taking Norway winning a bunch of medals in cross country skiing (half of their medal count) as anything other than an interesting footnote is folly. 0.2% of Norway lives in poverty. Really not a lot of wealth inequality there. :lol:
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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby Ivytalk » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:38 pm

My FIL, who had about a 6 handicap at one point, always said that golf was the great equalizer. I respect my FIL. Ergo, I’m an egalitarian.
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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby houndawg » Sat Nov 10, 2018 5:50 am

89Hen wrote:
kalm wrote:It’s not a suggestion that we shouldn’t have elite youth sports more an observation about wealth inequality based on the numbers that families who can afford expensive club sports are invmcreasimg participation while the less fortunate’s numbers are in decline.

Another parallel, similar to Norway’s success with sports...

This is as stupid as looking to Iceland for banking ideas kalm. Taking Norway winning a bunch of medals in cross country skiing (half of their medal count) as anything other than an interesting footnote is folly. 0.2% of Norway lives in poverty. Really not a lot of wealth inequality there. :lol:



I wonder why that is?
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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby CID1990 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:18 am

The "uber competitiveness" of America is basically why America is America and not Turkmenistan

not that it matters though... our Chinese chicken wing bone spitting betters are going to make us Turkmenistan in less than 30 years


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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby andy7171 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:50 am

houndawg wrote:
89Hen wrote:This is as stupid as looking to Iceland for banking ideas kalm. Taking Norway winning a bunch of medals in cross country skiing (half of their medal count) as anything other than an interesting footnote is folly. 0.2% of Norway lives in poverty. Really not a lot of wealth inequality there. :lol:



I wonder why that is?

The homeless freeze and die yearly.


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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby 89Hen » Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:43 pm

houndawg wrote:
89Hen wrote:This is as stupid as looking to Iceland for banking ideas kalm. Taking Norway winning a bunch of medals in cross country skiing (half of their medal count) as anything other than an interesting footnote is folly. 0.2% of Norway lives in poverty. Really not a lot of wealth inequality there. :lol:



I wonder why that is?

Probably because they live in an extremely homogenized and closed society.
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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby JohnStOnge » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:23 pm

I would not be surprised if, if someone would do a study on it, we would find that the most successful athletes in the United States financially (i.e., NFL, NBA, and MLB players) come from families that are, on average, below the medians in terms of things like income and wealth.
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Re: Meritocracy v. Egalitarianism

Postby JohnStOnge » Sun Nov 11, 2018 7:58 pm

kalm wrote:Another parallel, similar to Norway’s success with sports, would be the fact Finland, who gets some of the highest education rankings in the world, has no private schools and forbids tuition. What happens to public schools if the Koch brother’s kids had to attend them? Would they go lacking for resources or upgrades?


I think it likely that demographics plays a big role in where Finland ranks in terms of education. I've never looked at it internationally but I am strongly convinced due to looking in detail at US Department of Education National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) testing data that demographics are far more important to how students score than jurisdictions are. I also think it's a lot more important than how much money is spent per pupil. Knowing percent composition in terms of major racial groups, parental education levels, and whether or not students are eligible for the school lunch program will allow you to predict what a State's average NAEP test score is a lot better than you can predict it using how much state education systems spend per student.

You can take one look at the map on per capita education spending at https://www.edweek.org/ew/collections/q ... state.html and see that there's not a real strong correlation between how much States spend on education and how students from States score on the standardized tests used to judge education systems.

In fact wow I just found a paper done by somebody from Harvard with a conclusion consistent with my perception. It's at http://scholar.harvard.edu/files/kimia/ ... ending.pdf and the relevant language in the Conclusions section is this:

We are able to conclude that state spending per pupil is not significantly associated with these scores (and thus are unable to reject the null hypothesis introduced in Section 1.2), but predictors such as employee salaries, total support services, people per household, Gini coefficient, child poverty (18 and younger), Asian population, Hispanic population, black population, total number of students, and the total support services are,


Don't know if the paper was ever published but I'm trying to find out.
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