Latest Issue

Michael Sandel on why winners shouldn’t take it all

Good government requires an ability to deliberate about the common good and to pursue it effectively

By Adrian Pabst   October 2020
Even a meritocratic society isn't a fair one

Even a meritocratic society isn't a fair one


In our age of polarisation, merit is one of the few principles on which all politicians agree. Surely society ought to reward success earned through talent and hard work? Yet, as Michael Sandel’s brilliant book shows, our meritocratic system contains the seeds of tyranny—the unjust rule of “winners” over “losers” that diminishes the mutual obligations on which democracy depends.

Meritocracy not only entrenches division by elevating the success of the…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect