View Full Version : Positive Discrimination vs Meritocracy

24-12-06, 16:18
Positive discrimination is a (state) policy of imposing quotas based on gender, ethnicity, and sometimes also age, for job positions in public institutions and possibly also in private companies. This system can also be based on abilities and talent, but some less able or talented people may get a job just because of assigned quotas, to the expense of more competent candidates.

Meritocracy is a (state) policy of selecting candidates for jobs based on demonstrated ability (merit) and talent. Arbitrary quotas have no place in a true meritocractic system, which should be based only on competition or demonstrated talent and competence. Naturally, a real meritocracy does not refuse candidates baed on their gender or ethnic group, so it does act against discrimination, but without fixed quotas.

My question is : Should European laws promote positive discrimination, or meritocracy only. The EU usually recruits its staff based on a purely meritocratic system. But some member states' government do have positive discrimination programmes, like "equal opportunties" in Britain and Belgium. France now has a whole ministry for equal opportunities, although positive discrimination remains a hot debate in France.

My point of view

Personally, I can only value a meritocractic system, because positive discrimination almost always ends up discriminating against more competent people because they do not belong to a minority group, or are not female.

This happens all the more that quotas are proportionally too high compared to the actual size of the minority protected.

It should not be forgotten that many ethnic immigrants to Europe come from societies with lower educational levels, and most of the economic immigrants nowadays are relatively poorly skilled and educated, even by the standards of their country of origin.

We know that children from poor families or immigrant families both experience more difficulties at school, because their family background does not encourage enough intellectual curiosity, or because the official language of education is not their language at home.

Under such circumstances it would be a grave mistake to assume that if those immigrants make up 5% of the population, they should have quotas of 5% of the most competitive jobs at the government or as cadres in companies. Such a system can only be harmful to the efficiency of the country's government and companies.

Regarding positive discrimination for gender equality, it is also vital for any country's health to understand the psychological differences between men and women. Some jobs are better suited for men, others more for women, while some are almost equally suitable for either. This is why it would be a mistake to assign 50-50 quotas for jobs better suited for one gender. It could even be disastrous. Try comparing the efficiency of a team of secretaries with only female staff to one with only male staff. The former will normally perform much better. Make it a team of taxi drivers and the performances will be inverted.

Theoretically, gender quotas shouldn't be a problems in an elected parliament, where members so not get the job based on tests, experience or paper competence, but are elected by the population. However, I would prefer a system where any candidate politician should first past a test of competence before standing for election, so as to introduce meritocracy in politics as well, even combined with gender quotas.

04-01-07, 12:31
I go for the meritocracy. It just makes more sense.
If I'm recruiting for a job, I want to hire the person who will do the job best. It's as simple as that.

One issue that arises in the UK sometimes is that fact that some immigrants have high levels of skill in the field in which they were trained, but lack the English language ability to translate that into high-level, good working practice. If that happens to be in an area where there's a shortage of Brits with the relevant skills/willingness to work, it's frustrating for all concerned.

04-03-07, 23:43
Positive discrimation, or as it's known in the US, affirmitive action is a bad idea. When it comes to empowering the less fortunate ethnicities or segregrated groups with education possibilites then yes I agree with that, but not offering positionso to someone who is less qualified than someone else because they are a certain way.

22-07-09, 18:43
Positive discrimation, or as it's known in the US, affirmitive action is a bad idea.

It is another form of discrimination. An excellent example of injustice disguised as political-correctness.

Cambrius (The Red)
22-07-09, 20:16
It is another form of discrimination. An excellent example of injustice disguised as political-correctness.

I agree. Sometimes it does more harm than good. How many white people get turned down at the best U.S. colleges and universities in order to accommodate an intellectually average Black African or a Hispano / Mestizo / Latino type. Michelle Obama is a prime example. Ever read her senior year thesis? She's not dumb but hardly top of the line. Ever wonder about the numbers of superior white students who are unjustly passed over by the likes of Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Brown, Amherst, Wesleyan, Williams, Swarthmore, etc. because of affirmative action?

08-01-10, 17:46
Discrimination is negative term. So how we can say "Positive discrimimnation"?

It is like to say, "Young grandfather", or "faithfully traitor". It is all stupidity which is degenerating the humans.

15-01-10, 22:59
Recently ,the Berkeley wants to eliminate the Science Labs because there are too much White students. I find this ridiculous and racist

Cambrius (The Red)
16-01-10, 04:26
The concept of reverse discrimination goes against all logic.

20-01-10, 21:59
They're all in some way flawed, so I don't see it as an essential question.