Thursday, March 14, 2019

On Merit Systems

Merit in a given organization structure means fulfilling best the organizational objectives. If one is a good soldier one has merit if one follows orders and kills enemies efficiently. If one is a good investment adviser one has merit for making much money. If one is a subordinate in any organization one has merit for accomplishing the objectives that help the organization best. Merit in-itself is nearly without value.
What is best for a society may have no organizational merit; that is the organization may have no recognition of what its actual needs are. Organizational values may be tautologous and self-reinforcing and discognizant of external challenges. Existing organizational structures promote merit for supporting the advance of existing values and goals. New ideas or refurbished old ideas, synthetic compositions and so forth may be given no merit. Merit for-itself hasn’t necessary empirical merit, and may be counter-productive. That is society may work against its best interests and have wrong values. That situation often exists because of historical inertia.
While the principle practice of if its not broke don’t fix it generally has merit, the principle is not invariably appropriate. An example would be the widespread continuing use of fossil fuels producing carbon dioxide contributions to atmospheric global warming. Reformation of free enterprise mechanics within a directed evolution course of government regulations need be innovated, yet the ability for organizations to create or change to new practices that involve destruction of existing, functioning practices runs counter, on the face of it, to the if its not broke don’t fix it principle.
A communist society is the most repressive of free enterprise that exists for individuals, as well as personal liberty, for it is implicitly repressive. A problem of an over-populated world with fundamental economic systems and physical infrastructures grown from thousands of years old structures is that the ability to change is repressed. The good values of selecting meritorious concepts and practices become ossified; the system can’t overcome itself.
The historian Arnold Toynbee noted that civilizations tend to become ossified and fail to meet certain challenges. Then the civilizations fall. He also noted that today there is just one civilization, and it to may fail, and fall. The capacity to change from itself enough to have a sustainability in economic and ecosphere presently, apparently lacking in the long run, may not exist. The changes would be greater than anything imagined by most economists and politicians. Free thought and free people are necessary for that. Unfortunately like the apocryphal story of why crabs can’t escape from a crab pot (because the other crabs pull them back down), communism and even corporate and ad hoc plutocratic organizations consolidate power empirically and repress the masses setting their own values for merit that the proles for upward mobility need follow.
Merit systems of stimulus-response, better biscuit for the good dog, if they exist, need be just. Cheating so bad dogs get good-dog treats corrupts a merit system.
People often don’t have occasion to philosophically consider things like merit systems. In a competitive social structure simply striving to merit something, some goal; like college admission or promotions to junior supervisor helper or top factory dog- even chief big dog, rules need to be fair. It is also important to consider the rules and philosophy and existential criterion where rules exist. If a thousand people are crowded into a sports stadium toilet facility meant for one-hundred, there are other issues besides those of does it stink or how the throughput could be increased.

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