The Rise and Fall of Meritocracy

Meritocracy: the word sounds nothing but good. It means rule by those who have merit. Such merit is usually understood to be academic achievement, a combination of talent and training. This is measured by academic degrees, which in turn are graded on merit: A, B, C, D, or First, Upper Second, Lower Second, Third.

Who would not wish to live in a meritocracy? It is certainly preferable to a plutocracy, in which wealth determines status, or a gerontocracy, in which age leads one to the top, or even an aristocracy, in which what counts are inherited titles and properties.

So meritocracy seems preferable, at least at first sight. But, on closer inspection, things are not so simple.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/ruYtPjf;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.