meritocracy


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Wikipedia.

meritocracy

1. rule by persons chosen not because of birth or wealth, but for their superior talents or intellect
2. the persons constituting such a group
3. a social system formed on such a basis

meritocracy

a form of society in which educational and social success is the outcome of ability (measured by IQ) and individual effort. The notion, given prominence by Michael Young (The Rise of the Meritocracy, 1958), figured prominently in the work of Fabian socialists who did much to promote it as a guiding principle to legitimate the changes sought in the 1944 Education Act and the subsequent drive to secondary reorganization along comprehensive lines. Meritocracy emphasizes equality of competition rather than equality of outcome, assuming that positions in an occupational hierarchy will be obtained as a result of achievement on merit against universal, objective criteria, rather than on ascribed criteria of age, gender, race, or inherited wealth. No person of quality, competence or appropriate character should be denied the opportunity to achieve a commensurate social status. Essential to the concept of meritocracy is the belief that only a limited pool of talent exists and that it is an important function of the education system to see that such talent is not wasted but is developed and fostered. (See also FUNCTIONALIST THEORY OF SOCIAL STRATIFICATION).

The principle of meritocracy is by no means universally accepted. Young himself was ambivalent about some of its consequences, e.g. a denuding of working-class culture and working-class leadership. Major criticisms have also come from those who argue that genuine EQUALITY can only be achieved by the adoption of strategies which are designed to produce greater equality as an end product of the system rather than at its starting point. In any event, those advocating the meritocratic view have to resolve the recurring difficulty of devising objective measures of ability. See also INTELLIGENCE.

References in periodicals archive ?
However sharp and well-honed Bell's critique of one-person-one-vote democracy, and however many Westerners might reluctantly agree with him on democracy's manifest drawbacks, fewer will choose to follow him in his exposition of the advantages of Chinese-style meritocracy rooted in one-party authoritarianism.
We must accept meritocracy, not only when it comes to others but also for ourselves," he said, adding that the operational requirements of the army came first no matter what system was in place.
As it currently stands, Leinster, Glasgow, Ospreys and Treviso qualify as top dogs in their countries with the three meritocracy places being taken by Munster, Ulster and Scarlets.
In Singapore, however, political meritocracy has remained a central issue, with the country's leaders continuing to advocate the institutionalization of mechanisms that are aimed at selecting the candidates who are best qualified to lead -- even if doing so meant imposing constraints on the democratic process.
While we prescribe to the notion that in a meritocracy we've connected with people for their skills and experience, Kaplan and Mason point out that unconscious bias has crept into our decision making.
Meritocracy rules only so long as they are wearing the right tie?
Ricardo Flores, who had served as Chairman of our Board of Directors since November 2010, made important contributions to Vale, working in harmony with all the shareholders and senior management and reinforcing the culture of meritocracy in the company.
Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy, Christopher Hayes, Crown Publishers, 292 pages
ISLAMABAD -- The Chairman NAB has constituted a Prevention Committee on Hajj operations to assist Ministry of Religious Affairs in preparing policies, rules and regulations and criterion for Hajj Regulators to ensure meritocracy, fair-play and transparency.
In the Oxford Round Table of 2008, "Religion: Politics of Peace and Conflict," we gave a presentation on the theme "The Worldview Required for Preventing Tragedies in Periods of Paradigm Shift" in terms of concrete and philosophical research and pointed out that one of the causes of human tragedies between the 19th and 20th centuries was the monoculture produced by meritocracy, which describes the nature of civilization in connection with scientific technologies.
In the wake of his death, one local commentator talked about the meritocracy Jobs created at Apple.
As I have said before football is the ultimate meritocracy, because all that matters is winning.