"It is an axiom of American life that advantage should be earned through ability and effort. Meritocracy cuts to the heart of who we are. It sustains the American dream. But what if, both up and down the social ladder, meritocracy is a sham? Today, upward mobility has become a fantasy. The embattled middle classes are now more likely to sink into the working poor than to rise into the professional elite, and even the rich adults who manage to claw their way to the top are required to work with crushing intensity. All this is not the result of deviations or retreats from meritocracy but rather stems directly from meritocracy's successes. This is the radical argument that Yale professor Daniel Markovits prosecutes with rare force. In The Meritocracy Trap, he reveals not only the inner workings of the meritocratic machine but also the first steps toward a world that might once again afford dignity and prosperity to the American people"--Back cover.