Meritocracy is a myth, according to a subsidiary of the world’s largest financial services company.
This is what employees of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, a $21 billion subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, were told last week by their employer.
“In our society, we are taught that anybody can achieve their dreams if they just work hard enough, try hard enough or ‘pull themselves up by their bootstraps,’” reads a document Berkshire Hathaway Energy emailed to employees.
“In reality, there is no such thing as a meritocracy; it’s a myth,” the document states.
The email from the energy subsidiary to its employees was viewed by The Daily Wire. The name and contact information of Darla Zink, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s chief diversity officer, appeared at the bottom of the document.
The document goes on to say that phrases like, “We don’t care if someone is Black or white or gay or straight – we care about performance” or “We won’t lower the bar – we hire the most qualified people” are simply attempts to retain power.
“It’s no big surprise that the systems of power want to maintain the status quo because doing so maintains their power,” the document says.
The document states that while individualism, hard work, and personal motivation “may play a factor in success,” so do the “systems of power.”
“Meritocracy arguments fail to recognize that some people don’t even have boots, let alone bootstraps,” the document says. “And these arguments can add a moral insult to the exclusion already endured by marginalized groups because they essentially state those individuals that exist outside the systems of power don’t measure up; in other words, ‘you’re not good enough,’ which we know is nonsense.”
The “winners” in a meritocracy “tend to believe that their success is due entirely to their brains and hard work, with no connection to their privilege,” the document adds.
“If you believe in a meritocracy, then you believe that the reason for these statistics is that people of color, women and LGBTQ people do not have the individual ability to succeed to the highest level of business. Does anyone at Berkshire Hathaway Energy actually believe that? I hope not. A better question to ask might be: How did things get so out of whack?” the document said.
The document also claims there is no meritocracy at Berkshire Hathaway Energy.
The document or “opinion piece” was “distributed internally as part of our ongoing efforts to engage our employees in a discussion about diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace,” Jessi Strawn, Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s director of corporate communications, told The Daily Wire in an email.
Berkshire Hathaway owns some of the world’s most recognizable companies including GEICO, Duracell, Dairy Queen, BNSF Railway, Fruit of the Loom, and Pampered Chef, and has significant holdings of Pilot Flying J, Kraft Heinz Company, American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, Bank of America, and Apple.
Buffett, the world’s tenth wealthiest person with a net worth of over $101.1 billion, serves as chairman and CEO of the Nebraska-based conglomerate. As of 2019, subsidiary Berkshire Hathaway Energy serves 4.9 million retail customers.