It seemed to him that the essential element in these men at the top was their faith that their affairs were the very core of life. All other things being equal, self-assurance and opportunism won out over technical knowledge; it was obvious that the more expert work went on near the bottom — so, with appropriate efficiency, the technical experts were kept there.
F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Beautiful and Damned (1922)
I would widen Fitzgerald’s technical experts to include anyone who has acquired any kind of expertise. From a Shakespeare scholar to a designer of silicon chips, expertise is where the social and economic benefits are created but not appropriately rewarded. How could they be if these men at the top are to maintain their superior status and pursue what they see as the very core of life?
Genuine expertise usually has to steer well clear of mainstream media, political prominence and the allure of celebrity status because it here where expertise is exaggerated and corrupted by those who rely on self-assurance and opportunism.
This is one of my sneaking concerns about Brexit. I see no indication whatever that the British establishment values technical expertise more highly than the EU values it. Apart from the expertise required for money laundering, asset-stripping and tax avoidance of course, but the EU probably values those quite highly too.