Reading Our Times

Reading Our Times

What’s wrong with meritocracy? In conversation with Michael Sandel

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Presidents, prime ministers, and pundits all love to praise meritocracy, the dream of a society in which we can go as far as our talents and hard work take us. But what if that dream is actually a nightmare?

Nick Spencer talks to leading political philosopher Michael Sandel about the pitfalls of meritocracy, and traces the roots of these tensions all the way back to a fifth–century theological debate.

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Our next episode will be out in October.

Learn more about the people and ideas behind the episode

The Tyranny of Merit by Michael Sandel

Merit, justice and liberalism: getting to the heart of Michael Sandel

Theos Annual Lecture 2020 with Michael Sandel

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About this podcast

Reading Our Times is the podcast that explores the books and the ideas that are shaping us today. It is hosted by Nick Spencer, Senior Fellow at the think tank, Theos.

We’re going to be talking to some of the world’s leading authors about issues like meritocracy, justice, populism, human rights, the brain, liberalism, and religion.

Above all, we'll be exploring what these books have to say about the times we live in and about the people we are.

So listen with us, and we’ll introduce you to authors, books and ideas that illuminate ourselves and our world today.

For more information about the people and ideas behind the podcast, visit or follow us on Twitter @theosthinktank and @theosnick.

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