Archive for July 10th, 2010

July 10th, 2010

On Qualifications

In a terrific obituary for economist Juanita Kreps, Emma Brown writes:

A soft-spoken and genteel Southerner, she was nevertheless known for her strength and willingness to speak her mind. At a televised news conference with Carter after he named her commerce secretary in 1976, she was asked to respond to the President-elect’s claim that it had been difficult to find qualified women to fill Cabinet posts.

“I think it would be hard to defend the proposition that there are not a great many qualified women,” she said. “We have to do a better job of looking.”

The issue of “qualifications” and “qualified applicants” is a complex one for those of us who want to live in a just world.  When people talk about a meritocracy, I generally want to laugh. I mean, it doesn’t even seem like the most qualified and talented rich white people end up in power most of the time, and if they aren’t living in a meritocracy, then who the hell is?