Friday, January 25, 2013

The Power Band in America

David Brooks of the NY Times just wrote an interesting piece on the power band, although he didn't call it that. He is fond of the term meritocracy and what it means today. Basically it is Brooks contention that the power band has narrowed so far that only a few colleges can promise a stellar career for graduates. The Ivy League of course. After that it is every marketing major for himself. It is what is behind the glut of twenty somethings living at home now after going fabulously in debt. It is what is behind our current economic slugfest.

But back to the power band. The power band snakes up through the east coast and runs through New York, Boston, Washington. It is where the players are. It is no accident that many of our Presidents, Senators, actors, major Wall Street shakers and movers all came up through this power band. Prep schools on to Ivy League. It is a trail of the few who will get all the benefits and most of the money. For everyone else it is the life of the salesman.

But of course we believe in meritocracy. Everyone should be allowed to move up on merit. The problem is that is not the reality. Brooks points out who is hired and from what schools and the depressing statistics is that unless you are coming out of one of these elite schools then you are on your own. So the narrowing of opportunity is coming down to the select few who know about the power band and are able to exploit it.

Or are born into it. For the rest of us it is Tom Cruises famous line in Risky Business....
UOI here I come!

www.billhazelgrove.com
Rocket Man...the American Dream in reverse

Books by William Hazelgrove