In the last generation or two, the funnel of opportunity in American society has drastically narrowed, with a greater and greater proportion of our financial, media, business, and political elites being drawn from a relatively small number of our leading universities, together with their professional schools. The rise of a Henry Ford, from farm boy mechanic to world business tycoon, seems virtually impossible today, as even America’s most successful college dropouts such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg often turn out to be extremely well-connected former Harvard students.
Yup. That was my experience in academia. Where you went to school turned out to be a lot more important than the quality of one's ideas. It’s true that I went into a sub-field of philosophy (Greek philosophy) that was probably crowded, or if not that, then more dominated by those from elite schools than is usually the case. My wife, with competence in Asian art, says she came along at just the right time: any earlier and they wouldn’t have been interested in her knowing about Asian art, and any later and they would have wanted an Asian and not a Westerner like her.
More on this article when I have the time to read the whole thing.