When competence is judged by the company you keep, your ability to absorb but not create, a glib response delivered when expected, or many other tangled intangibles not moored in reality we can be certain that society has regressed to a primitive state where form is more important than substance.
No longer geared towards production, transformation, and conceptualization the society drifts ever so slowly towards the tyranny of the connected. The looters, those who hold the sacred scrolls of their simpleton brethren erect endless roadblocks to inhibit the brilliant from reaching or receiving their just recompense and recognition. These luminous obtuse thinkers that don't follow a prescribed blueprint are the enemy in a collapsing society ruled by the lovers of the status quo. They cannot be allowed to shine in a stale regurgitated world of copiers. Juxtaposed against the dingy chanting repeaters of the worn-out these unique individuals would highlight the horribly inferior; the comfortable dogma shouters would be exposed.
When society falls into the hands of incompetent looters determined to maintain their positions at all costs the balance of power shifts from the competent to the incompetent, the looters compel those who trade with them to jump through endless hoops.
Barriers to entry; tests, educational requirements, and an ever-increasing proliferation of certifications relieve the holders of corporate power at all levels from competing on a even playing field with competent, original, creative thinkers. These simple-minded gatekeepers aren't interested in wisdom, knowledge, and competence, only connections, assurances that whomever they let pass won't disrupt the status quo, won't dislodge them from their positions.
Our societal objective under a tyranny of looters is no longer focused on promoting, rewarding, or recognizing the best of us but instead geared towards maintaining, pampering, and exalting the worst of us.