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 ?
The same is true for the meritocrats: they can extend ideologically from economic liberals who favor an unconstrained market and a brutal struggle for survival all the way to social democrats who want a strong welfare state with tight business regulation.
By sidelining the Communist Youth League, Xi is blocking one line of access to power for meritocrats. That's going to drive some of them out of the party and even out of the country.
Ainsi l'abolition selon les meritocrates dominants fournit le palimpseste d'une nouvelle inscription d'un Canada libre de la colonialite.
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.
Besides, effort may be a virtue but even the meritocrats don't think it deserves rewards independent of results or achievement.
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."
It's all part of Whitby's touchy-feely revolution, which attempts to portray the Conservatives as classless meritocrats. So carried away did he become that he constantly introduced Dr Fox to passers-by as 'Dr Liam'.
'The majority of Labour MPs were paid-up meritocrats' (Woodridge, 1994, p.256).
Proponents of affirmative action, for example, often acknowledged that the criteria to assure a diverse class were often at odds with or at least supplemental to the criteria applied by the meritocrats. Advocates of diversity, as well as supporters of affirmative action, accepted the meritocrats' claim that standardized admission indices (relying on both grades and aptitude tests) generally predict one's capacity both to learn and to do.
Meritocrats, incorrigible global opportunists, display neither gratitude to their forebears nor a sense of obligation to the common good.
This, of course, was regarded as merely sentimental by the meritocrats of the future, until the Populist insurrection of 2034, in which, sadly, Young's narrator loses his life, so that we do not learn the outcome.