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Meritocracy

Meritocracy

Meritocracy is a leading social ideal where the rewards of life - money, power, jobs - are distributed according to skill and effort. It is often referred to as 'creating a level playing field' where players can rise to the position that fits their merit.

Meritocracy is often presented as the opposite of systems such as hereditary aristocracy, where your social position is determined by birth.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

Most people think the world is meritocratic. 84 % of people in the UK believe that hard work is essential for getting ahead, and 69 % of Americans believe that people are rewarded for intelligence and skill.

As with any ideology, meritocracy justifies the status quo, explaining why people are in a specific place in the social order.

Debates about the extent to which specific individuals are 'self-made' over the effects of various forms of 'privilege' can be very heated.

The 'even playing field' metaphor is used to avoid unfair inequalities based on gender, race, etc. Ironically, attempts to implement meritocracy leads to the inequalities that it aims to avoid.

Research in psychology and neuroscience suggests that believing in meritocracy makes people more selfish, less self-critical, and more prone to acting in discriminatory ways.

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