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Letter: Do we live in a meritocracy?

Sir: To describe the work of Professor Peter Saunders as deserving "serious attention" or "not quickly dismissed" or even "sophisticated" is somewhat beyond the pale.

The reality is that for a long time the IEA (which publishes his work) has placed itself beyond the fringes of serious debate in this country, peddling a minimal state and self-help agenda which makes Newt Gingrich look moderate.

For evidence that Professor Saunders and the IEA are wrong, we simply have to look around us. Since 1979 the poorest 10 per cent of the population have become 18 per cent worse off whilst the richest 10 per cent have become 58 per cent better off, the number of people on non-means-tested benefit has doubled and life expectancy is still considerably worsened by class. Meritocracy? I think not.


Research Director

Fabian Society

London SW1