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Encyclopedia > Meritocracy

Meritocracy is a system of a government or another organization wherein appointments are made *who* makes the appointments - ultimately, it is the people (all members of the group). It does not specify what the people's choice is based on. Whether it is the candidate's popularity, his/her ability, morals, race, gender or anything else - that's up to the people.-->) or other historical determinants of social position and political power. Anarchist redirects here. ... Aristocrat redirects here. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This article applies to political and organizational ideologies. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An autocracy is a form of government in which the political power is held by a single self appointed ruler. ... A Band Society is the simplest form of human society. ... A chiefdom is any community led by an individual known as a chief. ... This article is about a form of government in which the state operates under the control of a Communist Party. ... Corporatocracy (sometimes corporocracy) is a neologism coined by proponents of the Global Justice Movement to describe a government bowing to pressure from corporate entities. ... Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1] comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. ... Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principles of popular sovereignty by the peoples representatives. ... This does not cite its references or sources. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A dictatorship is an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by a dictator. ... Roland pledges his fealty to Charlemagne; from a manuscript of a chanson de geste Feudalism, a term first used in the early modern period (17th century), in its most classic sense refers to a Medieval European political system comprised of a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the... Kleptocracy (sometimes Cleptocracy) (root: Klepto+cracy = rule by thieves) is a pejorative, informal term for a government that is primarily designed to sustain the personal wealth and political power of government officials and their cronies (collectively, kleptocrats). ... Kritarchy is a form of government ruled by judges and is based on natural rights. ... A Krytocracy is a government ruled by judges. ... For the documentary series, see Monarchy (TV series). ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Absolute monarchy is a monarchical form of government where the monarch has the power to rule his or her land or country and its citizens freely, with no laws or legally-organized direct opposition in force. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A constitutional monarchy or limited monarchy is a form of government established under a constitutional system which acknowledges an elected or hereditary monarch as head of state, as opposed to an absolute monarchy, where the monarch is not... Ochlocracy (Greek: οχλοκρατια; Latin: ochlocratia) is government by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of constitutional authorities. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Oligarchy (Greek , Oligarkhía) is a form of government where political power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society (whether distinguished by wealth, family or military powers). ... A plutocracy is a form of government where the states power is centralized in an affluent social class. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Cybernetic revolt. ... Look up republic in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Classical republic. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      A constitutional republic is a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the governments power over citizens. ... Parliamentary republics around the world, shown in Orange (Parliamentary republics with a non-executive President) and Green (Parliamentary republics with an executive President linked to Parliament). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Socialist state. ... A Capitalist Republic is the name for a Federal Republic with a Capitalist or Private Capital economic system that has a major outcome on elections or selections of major political leaders. ... States in which the constitution mandates power to a sole party are colored brown. ... This article pertains to technocracy as a bureaucratic structure. ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      For the metal band, refer to Theocracy (band). ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Theodemocracy is a political system theorized by Joseph Smith, Jr. ... Constitutional theory defines a timocracy as either: a state where only property owners may participate in government; or a government where rulers are selected and perpetuated based on the degree of honour they hold relative to others in their society, peers and the ruling class. ... Totalitarianism is a term employed by some political scientists, especially those in the field of comparative politics, to describe modern regimes in which the state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private behavior. ... http://www. ... The English suffix -cracy means a form of government or a state having such government. ... In sociology, social status also known as Social position social status means a position of an individual in a given society and culture. ...


The word "meritocracy" is now also often used to describe a type of society where wealth, position, and social status are in part assigned through competition or demonstrated talent and competence, on the premise that positions of trust, responsibility and social prestige should be earned, not inherited or assigned on arbitrary quotas. Meritocracy is used[citation needed] both to describe or even criticize competitive societies, that could accept large inequalities of income, wealth and status amongst the population as a function of perceived talent[citation needed], merit, competence, motivation and effort. For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... Social status is the honor or prestige attached to ones position in society (ones social position). ... Competition is the act of striving against others for the purpose of achieving gain, such as income, pride, amusement, or dominance. ... Social inequality refers to disparities in the distribution of material wealth in a society. ...

Contents

Origin of term

The term 'meritocracy' was first used, in a pejorative sense, in Michael Young's 1958 book Rise of the Meritocracy, which is set in a dystopian future in which one's social place is determined by IQ plus effort. In the book, this social system ultimately leads to a social revolution in which the masses overthrow the elite, who have become arrogant and disconnected from the feelings of the public. Michael Young, Baron Young of Dartington (August 9, 1915, Manchester - January 14, 2002) was a British sociologist, social activist and politician. ... This article is about the philosophical concept and literary form. ... IQ redirects here. ...


Despite the negative origin of the word, there are many who believe that a meritocratic system is a good thing for society. Proponents of meritocracy argue that a meritocratic system is more just and more productive than other systems, and that it allows for an end to distinctions based on such arbitrary things as sex, race or social connections. Detractors of meritocracy, on the other hand, argue that the central dystopian aspect of Young's conception — the existence of a meritocratic class that monopolises access to merit and the symbols and markers of merit, and thereby perpetuates its own power, social status, and privilege. This article is about the concept of justice. ... This article is about the philosophical concept and literary form. ...


In writing the United States "Declaration of Independence" Thomas Jefferson relied heavily on Chapter Five of John Locke's Second Treatise on Government, which conceives of a society where the foundation of all property is solely the labour exerted by men. Locke argued that the acquisition of property was not morally wrong, if it were acquired through the exertion of labour and if it were in order to meet one's own immediate needs. So, he said, society is necessarily stratified, but by merit, not by birth. This doctrine of industry and merit as opposed to idleness and inheritance as the determining factor in a just society argued strongly against kings and governments of nobles and their lackeys, in favor of representative republicanism.[1] For other persons named John Locke, see John Locke (disambiguation). ... The Two Treatises of Government (or Two Treatises of Government: In the Former, The False Principles and Foundation of Sir Robert Filmer, And His Followers, are Detected and Overthrown. ...


Often, opponents of the concept of meritocracy argue that characteristics such as intelligence or effort are simply impossible to measure accurately. Therefore, in their view, any implementation of meritocracy necessarily involves a high degree of guesswork and is inherently flawed.[citation needed] Those who support free markets believe that the free market can and should determine both merit and reward.[citation needed] Meritocracy has also been criticized as a myth which merely serves to justify the status quo; merit can always be defined as whatever results in success, thus whoever is successful can be portrayed as meriting success, rather than success being in fact predicated on rational, predetermined criteria of merit.[2]


Social Darwinism

Main article: Social Darwinism

Social Darwinism is a social theory which holds that Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection is a model for the development of biological traits in a population and is sometimes incorrectly applied to human social institutions. Social Darwinism was at its most popular from the late 19th century to the end of World War II. Proponents of Social Darwinism sometimes used the theory to justify social inequality as being meritocratic. Social Darwinism is the idea that Charles Darwins theory can be extended and applied to the social realm, i. ... Social Darwinism is the idea that Charles Darwins theory can be extended and applied to the social realm, i. ... Social theory refers to the use of abstract and often complex theoretical frameworks to explain and analyze social patterns and large-scale social structures. ... For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... For other uses, see Natural selection (disambiguation). ... A social institution is any institution in a socity that works to socialize the groups or people in it. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Social inequality refers to disparities in the distribution of material wealth in a society. ...


Individual proponents

Confucius

"In teaching there should be no distinction of classes." - Analects XV. 39. tr. Legge Many western admirers of Confucius, like Voltaire or H. G. Creel, have pointed out an innovative and revolutionary idea of Confucius': he replaced the nobility of blood with one of virtue. Jūnzǐ (君子), which had meant "superior person," coming from the contemporary meaning of the literal translation "son of the ruler," slowly took on a new meaning close to the English "gentleman." A virtuous plebeian who cultivates his qualities could be a "gentleman", whilst a shameless son of a King was only a "small man." That he allowed any kind of student to be his disciple (his teachings were intended to train future rulers) is a clear indication that he didn't wholly support feudal structures in Chinese society. A Confucian temple in Wuwei, Peoples Republic of China. ... Engraving of Confucius. ... Confucius (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kung-fu-tzu), lit. ... For the singer of the same name, see Voltaire (musician). ... Herlee Glessner Creel (1905-June 1, 1994) was an American orientalist and philosopher, and authority on Confucius. ... For other uses, see Gentleman (disambiguation). ... Roland pledges his fealty to Charlemagne; from a manuscript of a chanson de geste Feudalism, a term first used in the early modern period (17th century), in its most classic sense refers to a Medieval European political system comprised of a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the...


Han Feizi

In addition to Confucius, another ancient Chinese philosopher of the same period (the Warring States) advocated a meritocratic system of government and society. This was Han Feizi who was famous as being the foremost proponent of the School of Law (otherwise known as the philosophy of Legalism). The central tenet of his argument was the absolute rule of law, but there were also numerous meritocratic elements to be found[citation needed]. Another Legalist, Shang Yang implemented Legalist and meritocratic reforms in the state of Qin by abolishing the aristocracy and promoting individuals based on skill, intelligence, and initiative. This led to the armies of the Qin having a critical edge over the other nations that adhered to old aristocratic systems of government. Legalism, along with its anti-aristocratic, pro-meritocratic ideals, remained a key part Chinese philosophy and politics for another two millennia, although after the Qin Dynasty it was heavily diluted. Alternative meaning: Warring States Period (Japan) The Warring States Period (traditional Chinese: 戰國時代, simplified Chinese: 战国时代 pinyin Zhànguó Shídài) takes place from sometime in the 5th century BC to the unification of China by Qin in 221 BC. It is nominally considered to be the second part of the Eastern... Traditional Chinese: 韓非子 Simplified Chinese: 韩非子 Pinyin: Hán FÄ“izǐ Wade-Giles: Han Fei-tzu Han Feizi (韓非子) (d. ... In Chinese history, Legalism (Chinese: ; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Fa-chia; literally School of law) was one of the four main philosophic schools during the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period (the other three being Confucianism, Taoism and Mohism). ... Shang Yang (商鞅; Wade-Giles: Kung-sun Yang) (d. ... Qin or Chin (Wade-Giles) (秦), pronounced something like Shin, (778 BC-207 BC) was a state during the Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods of China. ...


Genghis Khan

Meritocracy was the primary basis for selection of chiefs and generals in the Mongol Empire. Genghis Khan chose whomever was talented and fit for his military chain of command. He even trusted generals and soldiers from opponents' armies if they showed loyalty to their leaders. For example, Genghis Khan's general Jebe had been an enemy soldier who had shot Genghis's horse in battle before he became Great Khan. Expansion of the Mongol Empire Historical map of the Mongol Empire The Mongol Empire, also known as the Mongolian Empire (Mongolian: , Mongolyn Ezent Güren; 1206–1405) was the largest contiguous empire in history and for sometime was the most feared in Eurasia. ... This article is about the person. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... This article is about the title. ...


Napoleon

Napoleonic (Revolutionary) France is also sometimes considered to have been meritocratic. After the revolution of 1792 hardly a member of the former elite remained. When Napoleon rose to power, there was no ancient base from which to draw his staff, and he had to choose the people he thought best for the job, including officers from his army, revolutionaries who had been in the peoples' assembly, and even some former aristocrats such as prime minister Talleyrand. This policy was summed up in Bonaparte's often-quoted phrase "La carrière ouverte aux talents", careers open to the talented, or as more freely translated by Thomas Carlyle, "the tools to him that can handle them". A clear example is the order of the Légion d'honneur, the first order of merit, admitting men of any class. They were judged not by ancestry or wealth but by military, scientific or artistic prowess. For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation). ... The French Republic or France (French: République française or France) is a country whose metropolitan territory is located in western Europe, and which is further made up of a collection of overseas islands and territories located in other continents. ... The French Revolution (1789–1815) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on... 1792 was a leap year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Ancien R gime means Old Regime or Old Order in French; in English, the term refers primarily to the social and political system established in France under the Valois and Bourbon dynasties, and secondarily to any regime which shares the formers defining features: a feudal system under the control... A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. ... Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (February 2, 1754 - May 17, 1838) was a French diplomat. ... The most familiar view of Carlyle is as the bearded sage with a penetrating gaze Thomas Carlyle (December 4, 1795 – February 5, 1881) was a Scottish essayist, satirist, and historian, whose work was hugely influential during the Victorian era. ... Chiang Kai-sheks Légion dhonneur. ... For other Orders see Order of Merit (disambiguation). ...


A later non-meritocratic practice, however, was Bonaparte's appointment of family members and Corsican friends to important positions (specifically regional leadership); loyalty may have been a more important factor than sheer merit in performance, a common case in political situations. Look up nepotism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson was a strong advocate of meritocratic types of government, believing they are superior to all other known forms of government; in more general terms, he believed a noble "natural aristocracy" would arise to look after the common good. [3] Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ...


Meritocratic states

Singapore

Among modern nation-states, the Republic of Singapore claims to be a pure meritocracy, placing a great emphasis on identifying and grooming bright young citizens for positions of leadership[attribution needed][citation needed]. The Singaporean interpretation places overwhelming emphasis on academic credentials as objective measures of merit.[citation needed]


Meritocracy is a central political concept in Singapore, due in part to the circumstances surrounding the city-state's rise to independence[original research?]. Singapore was expelled from neighboring Malaysia in 1965 as a result of the unwillingness of the majority of its population, mostly ethnic Chinese, to accept a "special position" for the self-proclaimed Bumiputra (Malay for "inheritors of the earth"), Malays[citation needed]. The federal Malaysian government had argued for a system which would give special privileges to the Malays as part of their "birthright" as an "indigenous" people. Political leaders in Singapore vehemently protested against this system, arguing instead for the equality of all citizens of Malaysia, with places in universities, government contracts, political appointments, etc., going to the most deserving candidate, rather than to one chosen on the basis of connections or ethnic background. The ensuing animosity between State and Federal governments eventually proved irreconcilable. Singapore was expelled, and became an independent city-state. To this day, Singapore continues to hold up meritocracy as one of its official guiding principles for domestic public policy formulation.[citation needed] Bumiputra or Bumiputera (Malay, from Sanskrit Bhumiputra; translated literally, it means son of the soil), is an official definition widely used in Malaysia, embracing ethnic Malays as well as other indigenous ethnic groups such as the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia and the tribal peoples in Sabah and Sarawak. ...


There is criticism with evidence that from within that the increasing stratification of Singaporean society and the creation of an elite class based on a narrow segment of the population as a result of this system has some serious disadvantages.[4] Commentators have also criticized the city-state for not applying this principle uniformly, citing for example the disproportionate influence and presence of the family of the founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew in both political and business circles.[citation needed] Although most Singaporeans still agreed that the city-state's tremendous economic success was due in part to its strong emphasis on developing and promoting talented leaders,[5] there are increasing signs that an increasing number of Singaporeans believe that Singapore is becoming an elitist society instead.[6] This is a Chinese name; the family name is 李 (Li) Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG, CH (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; born September 16, 1923; also spelled Lee Kwan-Yew), was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore from 1959 to 1990. ... The Wee Shu Min elitism scandal was a Singaporean scandal in October 2006 in which Wee Shu Min, daughter of parliament member Wee Siew Kim and then-eighteen year-old student on Raffles Junior Colleges scholarship programme, found herself in controversy after posting on her blog what were viewed... Elitism is a belief or attitude that an elite — a selected group of persons whose personal abilities, specialized training or other attributes place them at the top of any field (see below) — are the people whose views on a matter are to be taken most seriously, or who are alone...


A 2008 article in International Political Science Review titled "Meritocracy and Elitism in a Global City: Ideological Shifts in Singapore" argues that:

The concept of meritocracy is unstable as its constituent ideas are potentially contradictory. The egalitarian aspects of meritocracy, for example, can come into conflict with its focus on talent allocation, competition, and reward. In practice, meritocracy is often transformed into an ideology of inequality and elitism. In Singapore, meritocracy has been the main ideological resource for justifying authoritarian government and its pro-capitalist orientations. Through competitive scholarships, stringent selection criteria for party candidacy, and high ministerial salaries, the ruling People’s Action Party has been able to co-opt talent to form a “technocratic” government for an “administrative state.” [7]

Grand Duchy of Finland

Another example is the 19th century Finland, which was formally ruled by an autocrat, though in practice governing was exercised by the educated class. Although ancestry and inherited wealth influenced one's educational opportunities, education and not ancestry was the principal requirement for admittance to, and promotion within, the civil service and government. Well into the mid-20th century, academic degrees remained important factors for politicians asking for the electorate's confidence. Likewise, one's military rank in reserves has been a decisive factor on selecting leaders and managers both in public and private sector. Even today, most Finnish managers are amongst those who have attained an either NCO or reserve officer rank during their conscript tour of duty.[citation needed] Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... An autocrat is generally speaking any ruler with absolute power; the term is now usually used in a negative sense (cf. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the...


Venetian Republic

Lasting 1,112 years, the Republic of Venice at times used a system based on meritocracy to decide the membership of its ruling council. Each year, citizens were assessed based on the number of merit points earned through their successes — in academia, for works or art, for business ventures, and so on — and the top names were appointed to the council. The council had a role encompassing legislative, judicial and executive functions. They elected a Doge, on the understanding that any councillor who voted to appoint a Doge who took Venice to war and lost would, with that Doge, be put to death.[citation needed] Borders of the Republic of Venice in 1796 Capital Venice Language(s) Venetian, Latin, Italian Religion Roman Catholic Government Republic Doge  - 1789–97 Ludovico Manin History  - Established 697  - Treaty of Zara June 27, 1358  - Treaty of Leoben April 17, 1797 * Traditionally, the establishment of the Republic is dated to 697. ... Academia is a collective term for the scientific and cultural community engaged in higher education and research, taken as a whole. ... Grand Procession of the Doge, 16th century For about a thousand years, the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice was styled the Doge, a rare but not unique Italian title derived from the Latin Dux, as the major Italian parallel Duce and the English Duke. ...


Meritocracy Online

Although formal meritocracies are uncommon online, informal ones are much more prevalent. They often occur in online games such as MMORPGs where the best players are more likely to become guild leaders or be otherwise influential.[8], although the ability to invest large amounts of time and/or money is also important. An image from World of Warcraft, one of the largest commercial MMORPGs as of 2004, based on active subscriptions. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Open Source

There is a general tendency among open source projects for meritocracies: The more able a programmer seems to be, the higher their position (albeit informal) will be. The Apache Software Foundation is an example of an (open source) organization which officially is explicitly a meritocracy[9].


See also

Look up meritocracy in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Notes

  1. ^ The Sheila Variations: Jefferson and Locke
  2. ^ Stephen J. McNamee and Robert K. Miller, Jr., [The Meritocracy Myth http://www.rowmanlittlefield.com/isbn/0742510565] (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004); see also the authors' summary
  3. ^ SparkNotes: Thomas Jefferson: Economic, Social, and Political Reforms 1776-1796
  4. ^ Singapore's elites
  5. ^ http://app.amed.sg/internet/amed/read_content.asp?View,176
  6. ^ Please, get out of my elite uncaring face
  7. ^ Kenneth Paul Tan (2008) "Meritocracy and Elitism in a Global City: Ideological Shifts in Singapore", International Political Science Review 29(1): 7-27. Available at [1]
  8. ^ BBC - h2g2 - The Politics of Internet Discussion
  9. ^ How the ASF works - The Apache Software Foundation

External links

  • World Wide Words — Michael Quinion writes about the changing use of the term
  • Reference.com
  • Discussion of Meritocracy including an Introduction and arguements on both sides of the issue

  Results from FactBites:
 
How the ASF works - The Apache Software Foundation (3490 words)
When the group felt that the person had "earned" the merit to be part of the development community, they granted direct access to the code repository, thus increasing the group and increasing the ability of the group to develop the program, and to maintain and develop it more effectively.
What is interesting to note is that the process scaled very well without creating friction, because unlike in other situations where power is a scarce and conservative resource, in the apache group newcomers were seen as volunteers that wanted to help, rather than people that wanted to steal a position.
Being no conservative resource at stake (money, energy, time), the group was happy to have new people coming in and help, they were only filtering the people that they believed committed enough for the task and matched the human attitudes required to work well with others, especially in disagreement.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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