This #book talks about how meritocracy shouldn’t be the goal of a society.

It’s a controversial idea but arguments that the author makes are worth analysing.

My notes and thoughts in 🧵
1/ The core argument is that meritocracy creates a society of losers and winners.

Winners feel they deserve what they get, but the role of contingency (luck, genetics, background conditions) isn’t acknowledged.

Losers, on the other hand, feel humiliated.
2/ The argument is two fold:

- There’s no such thing as perfect meritocracy

- Even if there is a perfect meritocracy, it isn’t moral to let less meritocratic suffer because merit may not be controllable by an individual
3/ As a concrete example, take getting a degree from a good college.

Not everyone can afford to prepare for good colleges. And even if someone can, if they’re simply not sharp, do they deserve to be left behind?
4/ Meritocracy means the successful feel they deserve what they’ve gotten, and hence are less inclined to share their wealth with their fellow citizens.

This, ultimately, erodes a society,

Such erosion can be seen all across where bipartisan views no longer talk with each other
5/ Meritocracy works at a society level - where jobs are done by the most meritorious people.

But it fails at an individual level - if I’m not meritorious, I’ll suffer badly.
6/ What’s the solution? What does a just society look like?

Author doesn’t give a concrete alternative but talks about ideas such as randomising college admissions (via partial lotteries, to cast a wider net for who gets into a college).
7/ Or taxing consumption but not production.

Taxing economically zero-sum activities such as high frequency trading, while providing extra hourly wage to low meritorious (from economic pov) activities such as teaching.
8/ Overall, I found core ideas refreshing.

But the book is very US centric and was repetitive.

Meritocracy is something I hadn’t questioned before, but thanks to this book, now I do.

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More from @paraschopra

12 Sep
Going through applications for our monthly grants to young people, noticed that the answer to "how will Rs 50k change your life" falls into following categories:

- Pay their course fee
- Buy a laptop
- Fund their NGO
- Start a small business
It hurts to see so many students struggling to pay their course fees because their parents can't afford it.

It's a failure of our nation that highly determined kids have to worry about how they'll pay for their college.
But, at the same time, it also hurts to see how much emphasis our society places on traditional college education.

With so many resources available on the Internet, high-quality self-education can effectively be done for free.
Read 4 tweets
9 Sep
It’s such a deep mystery why do fundamental entities of the universe (particles, fields, molecules) behave in a way that can be captured into neat little mathematical formulas.

This mystery *strongly* suggests the following..
1/ That if these entities behaved unpredictably, we wouldn’t have existed.

Composite systems like us who can ask questions like these can only be built on fundamental units whose behaviour is simple.
2/ That there may be universes where fundamental entities have unpredictable behaviour which can’t be captured by any formula.

Such universes possibly exist, but no being exists within them that can ask complex questions like this one.
Read 7 tweets
4 Sep
Finished reading The Mind is Flat by @nickjchater and here are my notes from the #book.

(brace yourself for 50+ tweets 🧵)
1/ The core idea of the book is that our thoughts are not reflections of a deeper self.

Rather they're real-time fabrications of the mind trying to be consistent with previous fabrications.
2/ In this sense, the book advocates quite successfully, there's no "unconscious".

There are no deep motivations guiding your conscious self.

The conscious, real-time thoughts are all you've got.
Read 60 tweets
30 Aug
Market leaders get killed by non-competitors.

1/ As an entrepreneur, you worry about customers all the time.

Focusing on customers is obviously important but customers will never ask you to introduce switching costs, which are precisely what you should do in order to continue making profits.…
2/ But once you’ve been able to build a defensible business by building a big moat, you can pat yourself on the back.

Your business now won’t get killed by competitors.…
Read 13 tweets
27 Aug
Was looking at P/E ratio of nifty and it seems reasonably priced (~25) despite record-high index level (16,700). It went to as high as 42 in Feb 2021.

How can the P/E level drop so significantly?

Something felt amiss and I looked deeper.
P/E is ultimately a function of price and earnings.

Price is nothing but the NIFTY level itself and what was needed was historical earnings.

So, when I looked at the history of EPS, something abrupt jumped up.

Notice a sudden vertical increase in earnings to the right?
The date of earnings increase is 31st March 2021. On that date, the earnings suddenly jump by 22%.

Things like these aren't possible.

I was immediately reminded of Twyman's law:…
Read 5 tweets
17 Aug
Announcing two more winners for the July grant.

- Pavan K Rao
- Rachna Kabiraj

These grants are sponsored by @vivekanandahr.

Profiles of winners in the 🧵
1/ Pavan is a national-level rifle shooter who is currently preparing for the Olympics.

He needs Rs 60k to upgrade his 10m rifle jacket and trousers, which will help him get better results.

Hopefully, this grant can help Pavan win a medal for India in the future!
2/ Rachna is an artist who got a top 100 rank of NIFT but couldn't get into art colleges due to financial reasons.

The grant will help start her journey of making a living through art by helping her buy a tablet and setup an online art store.

Her work:
Read 5 tweets

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