Talentism and ‘The Mobility’: New Capitalism or Old Feudalism?
The Migration Policy Centre will host a research seminar with David Kyle, Associate Profressor at the UC Davis. The aim of this talk is to focus attention on the shared ideological undercurrents of Social Darwinism and a much older “talentism” as the belief in the innate potential of individual minds distributed unequally across the population.
In 2012, the Founder of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Klaus Schwab, asserted that “capital is being superseded by creativity and the ability to innovate — and therefore by human talents — as the most important factors of production. . . . capitalism is being replaced by ‘talentism’.” This notion is expressed in many policy arenas and merit-based management regimes, including one of the least controversial features of immigration policies across destination countries. How could one be against “attracting talent”? Yet, selecting on ‘talent’ may easily be repurposed to fit agendas shaped by a thinly-veiled racism and even older ideologies of natural social ranking. When Donald Trump, exclaims, “we should have more immigrants from Norway” (in contrast to the “shithole” countries in Africa and Haiti), we encounter a Rorschach Test for Talentism/Racism–do we see a stock talent recruitment strategy for individuals with potential, or rather an innovative post-Eugenics message for the 21st Century with no need to actually mention better breeding?
While race and talent are not interchangeable, the aim of this talk is to focus attention on the shared ideological undercurrents of Social Darwinism and a much older “talentism” as the belief in the innate potential of individual minds distributed unequally across the population.