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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

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.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
The problem with meritocracy is when those who faced no such barriers, having risen to the top of society thanks to favourable circumstances, believe, in their bones, that they ascended because they deserved to.
This is the type of meritocracy the party leaders promote in the force.
Highlighting the merits of a democracy, the premier said no country in the world had progressed without accountability and meritocracy.
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However, if for that two-month period the meritocracy system were abolished I am sure trainers would enter their horses in the knowledge that if they get in the horse will run with its allotted weight.
Let's remember when and how meritocracy became the organizing ideology of modern society.
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is a meritocracy. Americans believe success in life and business can be earned by anyone willing to put in the hard work necessary to achieve it, or so they say.
The Toxic Meritocracy of Video Games: Why Gaming Culture is the Worst
He's now a reader of The Unz Review, an online publication created by Ron Unz, former publisher of The American Conservative and author of the self-published Myth of American Meritocracy. Last week, I learned via The Unz Review that we Jews are attempting to indoctrinate American children into our filthy ways via picture books.
Toby Young's dad, Michael, coined the word 'meritocracy' in a novel back in 1958.
The China Model: Political Meritocracy and the Limits of Democracy.