meritocracy

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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 ?
By sidelining the Communist Youth League, Xi is blocking one line of access to power for meritocrats.
Whereas Carnegie was a role model for the Meritocrats, several of the Benefactor students mentioned Oprah Winfrey as a shining example of a justice-oriented privileged citizen who has done much with the privilege she is lucky enough to have.
Only slightly less unfamiliar to the French or Japanese education meritocrat would be such staples of the American application process as the interview, the letters of recommendation, the focus on racial and ethnic diversity, and on interests and activities and "character.
While meritocrats find that standardized testing is a sufficient mechanism to ensure opportunity, it tunas out, however, that the testocracy rewards those who are already privileged.
That America's meritocrats have started adopting beatnik ideas is hardly surprising.
But most of the meritocrats, like Munger in the beginning, took the perks and ran, seeking the time-honored American prerogatives of success for themselves and their families.
Instead, the prevailing common sense argues that merit has been corrupted by a system of entitlements that hands out privileges and advantages to people who don't deserve them: unqualified graduate students and intellectuals who are recruited into academia because "excellence," to use a favorite word of meritocrats, has been sacrificed to "the ideology of equality.
60) Small wonder also, that the communist practice of undermining labourism's meritocrats showed why the WPC could not be considered "of" the labour movement.
Tomalin characterizes them as classic meritocrats, and for the Austens as for the Watsons in the novel fragment of that name, "The Luck of one member of a Family is Luck to all.
conservatives portray themselves as color-blind meritocrats deeply
Then, unlike most meritocrats, he went home again, becoming one of the youngest governors in Arkansas history.
The thesis of the book is that the British "psychologists who dominated educational thinking for much of this century were meritocrats rather than conservatives, and progressives rather than traditionalists.