Sunday, November 06, 2011

Meritocracy is good but requires humility

I found myself agreeing with this Ross Douthat column.  I would add the following, however.  Some people are taken with themselves pretty early on.  For them there is probably no hope.  Others who are quite talented are nonetheless modest, simply out of disposition, or because of a humble background, or that although prodigious in some areas, struggle mightily in others.  I believe there is a tendency for these people to either entirely lose this modesty or let it submerge under an external veneer that develops as a defense mechanism, by the time the person has become a senior executive.  So maintaining humility is a stern requirement, one that may be near impossible to fill if it is accompanied by a history of genuine accomplishment.

By the way, Corzine was an alum of the Economics Department here.  He was the featured speaker at the 100th anniversary of the department, when Corzine was still at Goldman-Sachs.  I was told the fund raisers were all over him to make a big gift.  I don't believe he gave one at the time.  I wonder if they'll invite him back now.

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