The World of Finance: An Industry Based on Meritocracy?
Understanding finance and getting through the maze of the stock market swiftly is an ability that few possess. However, in the world of finance you don’t move along simply because you were born with that privilege. You have to learn things on your own, and the knowledge you acquire is what determines your place in the industry. You can choose to be a part of this world or not.
If you do join the world of finance, either the money of a vast number of people are in your hands and it’s up to you to put your talents to good use, or you are on the other side of the spectrum and are dependent upon other people for money or profit. Another option is to play the market with the money you have in your hands.
Just think about the following options:
- You may know what to do, but don’t actually do it with your money because you get a salary or commission.
- You don’t know what to do so you let someone decide for you, paying them with a salary or commission.
- You have the money and you know what to do, so you go ahead and do it and, as a result, make more money.
- You don’t have the money or the ideas so you look for someone willing to help you make wiser decisions.
So, what does meritocracy symbolize and who are the individuals running it?
Meritocrats in Finance
It may seem that in finance, meritocracy has a hold on things. Meritocracy is a governmental system in which the most talented individuals are those who become leaders in their field. In finance, there are certain individuals who get ahead simply because they know how to do things and know how to do them right. However, they alone are not in charge of finances and the most they can do is get ahead for their own personal gain depending on their responsibilities. Sometimes those individuals who have previously been involved in meritocracy, move into the field of finance. When meritocrats move into finance, they hope for large salaries, the ability to be powerful, and to gain new knowledge.
Meritocracy in America
Finance isn’t based primarily on meritocracy but there are traces of it in the financial world. According to the Financial Review, in a meritocratic industry, employees are recognized for their skills and talents regardless of their gender, age, or race. In the financial industry, most of the employees are middle-aged white men, and therefore viewing the financial world as entirely meritocratic would be simple bias. A single group of people is not enough to label the entire sector as being based on meritocracy.
According to the Economist, meritocracy has taken a fall in America but, according to the Huffington Post, meritocracy outweighs aristocracy in America and this is something that all Americans should be grateful for. If America renews its commitment to meritocracy rather than to aristocracy, it would become more democratic while at the same time preserving its philanthropy, as stated by the Huffington Post.
Meritocracy in Reality
Apparently, the topic of the financial industry in America being based on meritocracy is a two way topic since opinions of all sorts are present. As the Huffington Post summed it up, “in the last three decades however, we have provided a tax structure that over-compensates people… but gives less and less a return to our meritocratic society.” So while some believe meritocracy has vanished, others believe it still exists. A culture of meritocracy is present in a way, but whether or not it affects the finance industry is hard to tell due to the varied opinions.
As summed up in yet another Huffington post article, “There is a fear factor around meritocracy. People are afraid of being openly judged… merit-based judgement has helped create individual successes and yield a better system for everyone.” The author gives an example of meritocracy in the real world, or more specifically, on eBay. “The people who were the best sellers – those who knew how to select, market, and ship the best products, and those who had integrity – were chosen by the marketplace and became the most successful.” With that in mind, meritocracy may be doomed but, at the same time, it is ever present all around us and even in the places where we least expect it.
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