Meritocracy is often taken for granted, even though when you look at it closely it’s pretty clear that it’s a pleasant historical fiction. The danger of this fiction is that it clouds our judgment of the past, present, and future. It makes us sloppy about ensuring that everyone’s civil rights are being respected and hurts our understanding of the social systems that we live and work within.
The high technology sector is still one of the worst offenders when it comes to indulging in this particular fiction. So when I was recently invited to write a piece on the topic for CORE, the magazine of the Computer History Museum, I jumped at the chance to talk about this issue in a publication that helps remind Silicon Valley about its history. You can read the article here (it starts on page 28): Against Meritocracy in the History of Computing.