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All cannot have prizes

Charles Murray, the controversial conservative social scientist, has turned his fire on the belief that almost anyone can excel academically. But his latest book is hastily written, largely unconvincing and possibly immoral

By Geoff Mulgan   January 2009

The world of education has been divided into two camps for at least a century. In one camp there are the optimists who look at young people and see millions of potential composers, surgeons, or business leaders whose talent is waiting to be unlocked. In the other camp there are the pessimists who look at the same young people and see a largely dull mass among whom only a small minority will ever have the talent to excel. For the first group the big problem is low aspirations; for the second, it’s that, if anything, young people’s aspirations are too…

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