Meritocracy

Meritocracy

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Meritocracy, in the first, most administrative sense
Word sense
In linguistics, a word sense is one of the meanings of a word.For example a dictionary may have over 50 different meanings of the word , each of these having a different meaning based on the context of the word usage in a sentence...

, is a system of government or other administration (such as business administration) wherein appointments and responsibilities are objectively assigned to individuals based upon their "merits", namely intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or examinations. The "most common definition of meritocracy conceptualizes merit in terms of tested competency and ability, and most likely as measured by IQ or standardized achievement tests."

Meritocracy itself is not a form of government, but rather an ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

. In government applications, individuals appointed to a meritocracy are judged based upon certain merits which could range from intelligence to morality to general aptitude to specific knowledge.

Supporters of meritocracies do not necessarily agree on the nature of "merit", however they tend to agree that "merit" itself should be a primary consideration during evaluation.

Although meritocracy as a term is a relatively recent invention, the concept originates from the works of Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

, along with other Legalist and Confucian philosophers. The first meritocracy was implemented in the 2nd century BC, by the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

, which introduced world's first civil service exams evaluating the "merit" of officials. Meritocracy as a concept spread from China to British India during the 17th century, and then into continental Europe and the United States. With the translation of Confucian texts during the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, the concept of a meritocracy reached intellectuals in the West, who saw it as an alternative to the traditional ancient regime of Europe. In the United States, the assassination of President Garfield in 1881 prompted the replacement of the American Spoils System
Spoils system
In the politics of the United States, a spoil system is a practice where a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its voters as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party—as opposed to a system of awarding offices on the...

 with a meritocracy. In 1883, The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of United States is a federal law established in 1883 that stipulated that government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit. The act provided selection of government employees competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation...

 was passed, stipulating government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit through competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation.

Like "utilitarian
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

" and "pragmatic
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

", the word "meritocratic" has also developed a broader definition, used to refer to any government run by "a ruling or influential class of educated or able people." This is in contrast to the term originally coined by Michael Young
Michael Young
Michael Young, Baron Young of Dartington was a British sociologist, social activist and politician who coined the term "meritocracy"....

 in 1958, who critically defined it as a system where "merit is equated with intelligence-plus-effort, its possessors are identified at an early age and selected for appropriate intensive education, and there is an obsession with quantification, test-scoring, and qualifications." Meritocracy in its wider sense can be any general act of judgment upon the basis of people's various demonstrated merits; such acts are frequently described in sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 and psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

. Thus, the merits may extend beyond intelligence and education to any mental or physical talent or to work ethic
Work ethic
Work ethic is a set of values based on hard work and diligence. It is also a belief in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. An example would be the Protestant work ethic...

. In rhetoric
Rhetoric
Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. As a subject of formal study and a productive civic practice, rhetoric has played a central role in the Western...

, the demonstration of one's merit regarding mastery of a particular subject is an essential task most directly related to the Aristotelian term Ethos
Ethos
Ethos is a Greek word meaning "character" that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology. The Greeks also used this word to refer to the power of music to influence its hearer's emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Early Greek stories of...

. The equivalent Aristotelian conception of meritocracy is based upon aristocratic
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

 or oligarchical
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

 structures rather than in the context of the modern state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

.

The most common form of meritocratic screening found today is the college degree. Higher education is an imperfect meritocratic screening system for various reasons, such as lack of uniform standards worldwide , lack of scope (not all occupations and processes are included), and lack of access (some talented people never have an opportunity to participate because of the expense, most especially in developing countries
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

). However, academic degrees serve some amount of meritocratic screening purpose in the absence of more refined methodology. Education alone, however, does not constitute a complete system, as meritocracy must automatically confer power and authority, which a degree independently does not accomplish.

Etymology


Although the concept has existed for centuries, the term meritocracy was first coined by British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 politician and sociologist
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, Michael Young in his 1958 satirical
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

 essay
Essay
An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author's personal point of view. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. The definition...

, "The Rise of the Meritocracy", which pictured the United Kingdom under the rule of a government favoring intelligence and aptitude (merit) above all. The essay is written in the first-person by a fictional historical narrator in 2032, and interweaves history from the politics of pre- and post-war Britain with those of fictional future events in the short (1960 onward) and long term (2020 onward).

The essay was based upon the tendency of the then-current governments in their striving towards intelligence to ignore shortcomings and upon the failure of education systems to correctly utilize gifted and talented members within their societies.

Young's fictional narrator explains that, on the one hand, the greatest contributor to society is not the "stolid mass" or majority, but the "creative minority" or "restless elite". On the other hand, he claims that there are casualties of progress whose influence is underestimated and that, from such stolid adherence to natural science and intelligence, arises arrogance and complacency. This problem is encapsulated in the phrase "Every selection of one is a rejection of many".

History of the concept


According to scholarly consensus, the earliest example of an administrative meritocracy, based on civil service examinations, dates back to Ancient China. The concept originates at least by the 6th century BC, when it was advocated by the Chinese philosopher Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

, who "invented the notion that those who govern should so because of merit and not inherited status, setting in motion the creation of of the imperial examinations and bureaucracies open only to those who passed tests." As the Qin and Han dynasties developed a meritocratic system in order to maintain power over a large, sprawling empire, it became necessary for the government to maintain a complex network of officials. Prospective officials could come from a rural background and government positions were not restricted to the nobility. Rank was determined by merit, through the civil service examinations, and education became the key for social mobility. After the fall of the Han Dynasty, the nine-rank system
Nine-rank system
The nine rank system , or much less commonly nine grade controller system, was a civil service nomination system during the Three Kingdoms and the Southern and Northern Dynasties in China...

 was established during the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms
The Three Kingdoms period was a period in Chinese history, part of an era of disunity called the "Six Dynasties" following immediately the loss of de facto power of the Han Dynasty rulers. In a strict academic sense it refers to the period between the foundation of the state of Wei in 220 and the...

 period.

According to the Princeton Encyclopedia on American History
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

:
The concept of meritocracy spread from China to British India during the 17th century, and then into continental Europe and the United States. With the translation of Confucian texts during the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, the concept of a meritocracy reached intellectuals in the West, who saw it as an alternative to the traditional ancient regime of Europe. Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 and François Quesnay
François Quesnay
François Quesnay was a French economist of the Physiocratic school. He is known for publishing the "Tableau économique" in 1758, which provided the foundations of the ideas of the Physiocrats...

 wrote favourably of the idea, with Voltaire claiming that the Chinese had "perfected moral science" and Quesnay advocating an economic and political system modeled after that of the Chinese.

The first European power to successfully implement a meritocratic civil service was the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, in their administration of India. To avoid corruption, "company managers hired and promoted employees based on competitive examinations in order to prevent corruption and favoritism." British colonial administrators advocated the spread of the system to the rest of the Commonwealth, the most "persistent" of which was Thomas Taylor Meadows, Britain's consul in Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

. This practice was later adopted in the late 19th century by the British mainland, inspired by "Chinese mandarin system."

In the United States, the United States Civil Service utilized the Spoils System
Spoils system
In the politics of the United States, a spoil system is a practice where a political party, after winning an election, gives government jobs to its voters as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party—as opposed to a system of awarding offices on the...

 since 1828, until the assassination of United States President Garfield by a disappointed office seeker in 1881 proved its dangers. Two years later in 1883, the system of appointments to the United States Federal Bureaucracy was revamped by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of United States is a federal law established in 1883 that stipulated that government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit. The act provided selection of government employees competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation...

, partially based on the British meritocratic civil service that had been established years earlier. The act stipulated that government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit, through competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation. It also made it illegal to fire or demote government employees for political reasons. To enforce the merit system and the judicial system, the law also created the United States Civil Service Commission
United States Civil Service Commission
The United States Civil Service Commission a three man commission was created by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which was passed into law on January 16, 1883...

. In the modern American meritocracy, the president can only hand out a certain number of jobs which must be approved by the Senate.

Social Darwinism



Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism
Social Darwinism is a term commonly used for theories of society that emerged in England and the United States in the 1870s, seeking to apply the principles of Darwinian evolution to sociology and politics...

 is a social theory
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

 which holds that Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

's theory of evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 by natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

 is a model, not only for the development of biological traits in a population, but also as an application for human social institutions — the existing social institutions being implicitly declared as normative
Normative
Normative has specialized contextual meanings in several academic disciplines. Generically, it means relating to an ideal standard or model. In practice, it has strong connotations of relating to a typical standard or model ....

. Social Darwinism was at its most popular from the late 19th century to the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Proponents of Social Darwinism argue that the theory justifies social inequality
Social inequality
Social inequality refers to a situation in which individual groups in a society do not have equal social status. Areas of potential social inequality include voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, the extent of property rights and access to education, health care, quality housing and other...

 as being meritocratic. Darwin himself only ventured to propound his theories in a biological sense, and it is other thinkers and theorists who have applied Darwin's model to unequal endowments of human ambition.

Confucianism



In teaching, there should be no distinction of classes. (Analects XV, 39)

The main basis of his teachings was to seek knowledge, study, and become a better person.

Although Confucius claimed that he never invented anything but was only transmitting ancient knowledge (see Analects VII, 1), he did produce a number of new ideas. Many European and American admirers such as Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 and H. G. Creel point to the revolutionary idea of replacing nobility of blood with nobility of virtue. Jūnzǐ (君子, lit. "lord's child"), which originally signified the younger, non-inheriting, offspring of a noble, became, in Confucius' work, an epithet having much the same meaning and evolution as the English "gentleman". A virtuous plebeian who cultivates his qualities can be a "gentleman", while a shameless son of the king is only a "small man". That he admitted students of different classes as disciples is a clear demonstration that he fought against the feudal structures that defined pre-imperial Chinese society.

This new idea, of the meritocracy
Meritocracy
Meritocracy, in the first, most administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration wherein appointments and responsibilities are objectively assigned to individuals based upon their "merits", namely intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or...

, led to the introduction of the Imperial examination
Imperial examination
The Imperial examination was an examination system in Imperial China designed to select the best administrative officials for the state's bureaucracy. This system had a huge influence on both society and culture in Imperial China and was directly responsible for the creation of a class of...

 system in China. The system allowed anyone who passed an examination to become a government officer, a position which would bring wealth and honour to the whole family. The Chinese Imperial examination system seem started in 165 BC, when certain candidates for public office were called to the Chinese capital for examination of their moral excellence by the emperor. Over the following centuries the system grew until finally almost anyone who wished to become an official had to prove his worth by passing written government examinations.

Han Feizi


In addition to Confucius
Confucius
Confucius , literally "Master Kong", was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period....

, another ancient Chinese philosopher of the same period (that of the Warring States) advocated a meritocratic system of government and society. This was Han Feizi who was famous as the foremost proponent of the School of Law, otherwise known as the philosophy of Legalism
Legalism
Legalism may refer to:In philosophy:* Legalism , Chinese political philosophy based on the idea that a highly efficient and powerful government is the key to social order....

. This had, as its central tenet, the absolute rule of law, but also contained numerous meritocratic elements. Another Legalist, Shang Yang
Shang Yang
Shang Yang was an important statesman of the State of Qin during the Warring States Period of Chinese history. Born Wei Yang in the State of Wei, with the support of Duke Xiao of Qin Yang enacted numerous reforms in Qin...

 implemented Legalist and meritocratic reforms in the state of Qin
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

 by abolishing the aristocracy and promoting individuals based on their skill, intelligence, and initiative.

This led to the armies of the Qin gaining a critical edge over the other nations that adhered to old aristocratic systems of government. Legalism, along with its pro-meritocratic ideals, remained a key part of Chinese philosophy
Chinese philosophy
Chinese philosophy is philosophy written in the Chinese tradition of thought. The majority of traditional Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States era, during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and...

 and politics for another two millennia, although after the Qin Dynasty it was heavily diluted. But meritocratic governance within the bureaucracy remains a key stone of Chinese government all the way to the present. This can be most clearly seen in the use of standardized "imperial examinations" to determine entry into the official class, which began in the Sui Dynasty
Sui Dynasty
The Sui Dynasty was a powerful, but short-lived Imperial Chinese dynasty. Preceded by the Southern and Northern Dynasties, it ended nearly four centuries of division between rival regimes. It was followed by the Tang Dynasty....

.

Genghis Khan


Meritocracy was the primary basis for selection of chiefs and generals in the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

. Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan , born Temujin and occasionally known by his temple name Taizu , was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death....

 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
Jebe
Chepe Noyan was one of the prominent Noyans of Genghis Khan. His clan was Besud, which belonged to the Taichud tribe, which was at the time of Genghis Khan under Targudai Khiriltug's leadership....

 had been an enemy soldier who had shot Genghis in battle before he became Great Khan.

British India


Under Chinese influence, the first European power to successfully implement a merit-based civil system was the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, in their administration of India. To avoid corruption, "company managers hired and promoted employees based on competitive examinations in order to prevent corruption and favoritism."

Napoleon


Napoleonic (Revolutionary) France is considered to have been meritocratic. After the revolution of 1789 most members of the former elite had been removed. When Napoleon rose to power in 1799, 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 National 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.

Singapore


Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 describes meritocracy as one of its official guiding principles for domestic public policy formulation, placing emphasis on academic credentials as objective measures of merit. It separated from Malaysia in 1965 after the federal Malaysian government insisted on giving special privileges to the Malays as part of their "birthright" as an "indigenous" people (the majority, 76%, of the island's population are Chinese). Political leaders in Singapore argued instead for the equality of all citizens, with places in universities, government contracts, political appointments, etc., going to the most deserving candidates, rather than to those chosen on the basis of connections or ethnic background (It is worth noting that Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew, GCMG, CH is a Singaporean statesman. He was the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Singapore, governing for three decades...

 was originally a Fabian Socialist and opposed racism). This dispute between State and Federal governments proved irreconcilable; Singapore therefore became an independent city-state separate from Malaysia.

There is criticism that, under this system, Singaporean society is being increasingly stratified and that an elite class is being created from a narrow segment of the population. Although most agree that Singapore's economic success has been due in part to its strong emphasis on developing and promoting talented leaders, there are signs
Wee Shu Min elitism scandal
The Wee Shu Min elitism controversy occurred in October 2006. Wee Shu Min, daughter of parliament member Wee Siew Kim and a then-eighteen year-old student on Raffles Junior College's scholarship programme, found herself in controversy after posting on her blog what were viewed by some...

 that an increasing number believe that it is instead becoming an elitist society. Defendants recall the ancient Chinese proverb 'Wealth does not pass three generations', suggesting that elitists will eventually be, and often are, replaced by those lower down the hierarchy. Indeed, many top political leaders in Singapore come from peasant backgrounds, while modern peasants boast about their great ancestry.

Meritocracy Online



Although formal meritocracies are uncommon online, informal ones are quite prevalent. They often occur in online games such as MMORPG
MMORPG
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game is a genre of role-playing video games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual game world....

s where the best players are more likely to become guild
Clan (computer gaming)
In computer and video gaming, a clan or guild is an organised group of players that regularly play together in a particular multiplayer games. These games range from groups of a few friends to 1000-person organizations, with a broad range of structures, goals and members. The lifespan of a clan...

 leaders or be otherwise influential, although the ability to invest large amounts of time and/or money is also important. In discussion forums, it is often assumed that the most knowledgeable users have the best chances of becoming moderators, although online popularity and policy support may be just as important.

Further, due to the nature of online interaction, where identity and anonymity are more readily managed than in direct interaction, the effects of offline social inequity can often be discounted in online communities. Intelligence, effort, education, and personality may be readily conveyed in an online interaction but a person's gender, race, religion, and social standing can be easily obfuscated or left entirely unaddressed.

Open Source


There is a tendency, in the structure of open source
Open source
The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology...

 projects, for a meritocracy to arise. Technically, the more proficient the developer is in contributing towards the project - developing new features or maintaining existing code - the more they are required or the more the project necessitates their contribution, and thus the more senior their informal position becomes. Those who contribute more code, and have more of an effect on the direction or status of the project, will tend to have more seniority and influence. The Apache Software Foundation
Apache Software Foundation
The Apache Software Foundation is a non-profit corporation to support Apache software projects, including the Apache HTTP Server. The ASF was formed from the Apache Group and incorporated in Delaware, U.S., in June 1999.The Apache Software Foundation is a decentralized community of developers...

 and the Mozilla Foundation
Mozilla Foundation
The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit organization that exists to support and provide leadership for the open source Mozilla project. The organization sets the policies that govern development, operates key infrastructure and controls trademarks and other intellectual property...

 are examples of (open source) organizations which officially claim to be meritocracies.

Criticism


The primary concern with meritocracy is that the unclear definition of "merit" itself. Different people often have their own standards of merit, thus raising the question of which "merit" has the best merits - or in other words, which standard is the "best" standard.

Meritocracy has also been criticized by egalitarians as a mere myth which serves only to justify the status quo
Status quo
Statu quo, a commonly used form of the original Latin "statu quo" – literally "the state in which" – is a Latin term meaning the current or existing state of affairs. To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are...

, with its proponents only giving lip service
Lip Service
Lip service is an idiom meaning 'giving approval or support insincerely' .Lip service may also refer to:- Television :* Lip Service , a 2010 dramatic series broadcast on BBC Three...

 to equality. In the words of sociologist Laurie Taylor:
A second concern regards the principle of incompetence, or the "Peter Principle
Peter Principle
The Peter Principle states that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence", meaning that employees tend to be promoted until they reach a position at which they cannot work competently. It was formulated by Dr. Laurence J...

". As people rise in a meritocratic society through the corporate ladder, they reach and are stuck at the first level of what they are unable to do.

See also

  • Equality of opportunity vs Equality of outcome
    Equality of outcome
    Equality of outcome, equality of condition, or equality of results is a controversial political concept. Although it is not always clearly defined, it is usually taken to describe a state in which people have approximately the same material wealth or, more generally, in which the general conditions...

  • Equality before the law
    Equality before the law
    Equality before the law or equality under the law or legal egalitarianism is the principle under which each individual is subject to the same laws....

  • Jedem das Seine
    Jedem das Seine
    "'" is a German translation of "'", the Latin phrase meaning "to each his own" or "to each what he deserves."- Antiquity :The Latin phrase goes back to an old Greek principle of justice which translates literally into English as "to each his own"...

  • Meritocracy in China
  • Merit (Buddhism)
    Merit (Buddhism)
    Merit is a concept in Buddhism. It is that which accumulates as a result of good deeds, acts or thoughts and that carries over to later in life or to a person's next life. Such merit contributes to a person's growth towards liberation. Merit can be gained in a number of ways...



Criticism:
  • Functionalism (sociology)
  • Differential Education Achievement
    Differential Education Achievement
    Differential Educational Achievement is a sociological term often given to a concept that disagrees with some of the functionalist views on education....


External links