Meritocracy (merit, from Latin mereō, and -cracy, from Ancient Greek κράτος kratos 'strength, power') is the notion of a political system in which economic goods and/or political power are vested in individual people based on talent, effort, and achievement, rather than wealth or social class.[1] Advancement in such a system is based on performance, as measured through examination or demonstrated achievement. Although the concept of meritocracy has existed for centuries, the first known use of the term was by sociologist Alan Fox in the journal Socialist Commentary in 1956.[2] It was then popularized by sociologist Michael Dunlop Young, who used the term in his dystopian political and satirical book The Rise of the Meritocracy in 1958.[3]


Early definitions

Meritocracy was most famously argued by Plato, in his book The Republic and stood to become one of the foundations of politics in the Western world. 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".[4] In government and other administrative systems, "meritocracy" refers to a system under which advancement within the system turns on "merits", like performance, intelligence, credentials, and education. These are often determined through evaluations or examinations.[5]

In a more general sense, meritocracy can refer to any form of evaluation based on achievement. Like "utilitarian" and "pragmatic", the word "meritocratic" has also developed a broader connotation, and is sometimes used to refer to any government run by "a ruling or influential class of educated or able people".[6]

This is in contrast to the original, condemnatory use of the term in 1958 by Michael Dunlop Young in his work "The Rise of the Meritocracy", who was satirizing the ostensibly merit-based Tripartite System of education practiced in the United Kingdom at the time; he claimed that, in the Tripartite System, "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".[7]

Meritocracy in its wider sense, may be any general act of judgment upon the basis of various demonstrated merits; such acts frequently are described in sociology and psychology.

In rhetoric, the demonstration of one's merit regarding mastery of a particular subject is an essential task most directly related to the Aristotelian term Ethos. The equivalent Aristotelian conception of meritocracy is based upon aristocratic or oligarchic structures, rather than in the context of the modern state.[8][9]

More recent definitions

In the United States, the assassination of President James A. Garfield in 1881 prompted the replacement of the American spoils system with a meritocracy. In 1883, The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed, stipulating government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit through competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation.[10]

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,[11][12] 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).[13] Nonetheless, academic degrees serve some amount of meritocratic screening purpose in the absence of a more refined methodology. Education alone, however, does not constitute a complete system, as meritocracy must automatically confer power and authority, which a degree does not accomplish independently.

Ray Dalio uses the term "idea meritocracy" for a system that promotes good ideas rather than just the originator.[14]


Although the concept has existed for centuries, the term "meritocracy" is relatively new. It was first used pejoratively by sociologist Alan Fox in 1956,[2] and then by British politician and sociologist Michael Dunlop Young in his 1958 satirical essay The Rise of the Meritocracy.[15][16][17][18] Young's essay pictured the United Kingdom under the rule of a government favouring intelligence and aptitude (merit) above all else, being the combination of the root of Latin origin "merit" (from "mereō" meaning "earn") and the Ancient Greek suffix "-cracy" (meaning "power", "rule").[19] The purely Greek word is axiocracy (αξιοκρατία), from axios (αξιος, worthy) + "-cracy" (-κρατία, power). In this book the term had distinctly negative connotations as Young questioned both the legitimacy of the selection process used to become a member of this elite and the outcomes of being ruled by such a narrowly defined group. The essay, written in the first person by a fictional historical narrator in 2034, 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).[20]

The essay was based upon the tendency of the then-current governments, in their striving toward intelligence, to ignore shortcomings and upon the failure of education systems to utilize correctly the gifted and talented members within their societies.[21]

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 members of the "restless elite".[22] 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.[22] This problem is encapsulated in the phrase "Every selection of one is a rejection of many".[22]

It was also used by Hannah Arendt in her essay "Crisis in Education",[23] which was written in 1958 and refers to the use of meritocracy in the English educational system. She too uses the term pejoratively. It was not until 1972 that Daniel Bell used the term positively.[24] M. Young's formula to describe meritocracy is: m = IQ + E. The formula of L. Ieva instead is: m = f (IQ, Cut, ex) + E. That is, for Young, meritocracy is the sum of intelligence and energy; while, for Ieva it is represented by the function between intelligence, culture and experience, to which energy is then added.


Imperial China

Some of the earliest example of an administrative meritocracy, based on civil service examinations, dates back to Ancient China.[25][26][27][28][lower-alpha 1] The concept originates, at least by the sixth century BC, when it was advocated by the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who "invented the notion that those who govern should do so because of merit, not of inherited status. This sets in motion the creation of the imperial examinations and bureaucracies open only to those who passed tests".[29]

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.[30] 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.[30] After the fall of the Han Dynasty, the nine-rank system was established during the Three Kingdoms period.

According to the Princeton Encyclopedia of American History:[31]

One of the oldest examples of a merit-based civil service system existed in the imperial bureaucracy of China. Tracing back to 200 B.C., the Han Dynasty adopted Confucianism as the basis of its political philosophy and structure, which included the revolutionary idea of replacing nobility of blood with one of virtue and honesty, and thereby calling for administrative appointments to be based solely on merit. This system allowed anyone who passed an examination to become a government officer, a position that would bring wealth and honor to the whole family. In part due to Chinese influence, the first European civil service did not originate in Europe, but rather in India by the British-run East India Company... company managers hired and promoted employees based on competitive examinations in order to prevent corruption and favoritism.

Ancient Greece

Both Plato and Aristotle advocated meritocracy, Plato in his The Republic, arguing that the wisest should rule, and hence the rulers should be philosopher kings.[32]

17th century

The concept of meritocracy spread from China to British India during the seventeenth century.[31]

The first European power to implement a successful meritocratic civil service was the British Empire, in their administration of India: "company managers hired and promoted employees based on competitive examinations in order to prevent corruption and favoritism".[31] 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, China. Meadows successfully argued in his Desultory Notes on the Government and People of China, published in 1847, that "the long duration of the Chinese empire is solely and altogether owing to the good government which consists in the advancement of men of talent and merit only", and that the British must reform their civil service by making the institution meritocratic.[33] This practice later was adopted in the late nineteenth century by the British mainland, inspired by the "Chinese mandarin system".[34]

The British philosopher and polymath John Stuart Mill advocated meritocracy in his book, Considerations on Representative Government. His model was to give more votes to the more educated voter. His views are explained in Estlund (2003:57–58):

Mill's proposal of plural voting has two motives. One is to prevent one group or class of people from being able to control the political process even without having to give reasons in order to gain sufficient support. He calls this the problem of class legislation. Since the most numerous class is also at a lower level of education and social rank, this could be partly remedied by giving those at the higher ranks plural votes. A second, and equally prominent motive for plural voting is to avoid giving equal influence to each person without regard to their merit, intelligence, etc. He thinks that it is fundamentally important that political institutions embody, in their spirit, the recognition that some opinions are worth more than others. He does not say that this is a route to producing better political decisions, but it is hard to understand his argument, based on this second motive, in any other way.

So, if Aristotle is right that the deliberation is best if participants are numerous (and assuming for simplicity that the voters are the deliberators) then this is a reason for giving all or many citizens a vote, but this does not yet show that the wiser subset should not have, say, two or three; in that way something would be given both to the value of the diverse perspectives, and to the value of the greater wisdom of the few. This combination of the Platonic and Aristotelian points is part of what I think is so formidable about Mill's proposal of plural voting. It is also an advantage of his view that he proposes to privilege not the wise, but the educated. Even if we agreed that the wise should rule, there is a serious problem about how to identify them. This becomes especially important if a successful political justification must be generally acceptable to the ruled. In that case, privileging the wise would require not only their being so wise as to be better rulers, but also, and more demandingly, that their wisdom be something that can be agreed to by all reasonable citizens. I turn to this conception of justification below.

Mill's position has great plausibility: good education promotes the ability of citizens to rule more wisely. So, how can we deny that the educated subset would rule more wisely than others? But then why shouldn't they have more votes?

Estlund goes on to criticize Mill's education-based meritocracy on various grounds.

18th century: West Africa

The Ashanti King Osei Kwadwo who ruled from c. 1764 to 1777, began the meritocratic system of appointing central officials according to their ability, rather than their birth.[35]

19th century

In the United States, the federal bureaucracy used the spoils system from 1828 until the assassination of United States President James A. 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, 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.[10]

To enforce the merit system and the judicial system, the law also created the United States Civil Service Commission.[10] In the modern American meritocracy, the president may hand out only a certain number of jobs, which must be approved by the United States Senate.

Australia began establishing public universities in the 1850s with the goal of promoting meritocracy by providing advanced training and credentials. The educational system was set up to service urban males of middle-class background, but of diverse social and religious origins. It was increasingly extended to all graduates of the public school system, those of rural and regional background, and then to women and finally to ethnic minorities.[36] Both the middle classes and the working classes have promoted the ideal of meritocracy within a strong commitment to "mate-ship" and political equality.[37]

20th century to today

Singapore describes meritocracy as one of its official guiding principles for domestic public policy formulation, placing emphasis on academic credentials as objective measures of merit.[38]

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.[39] Singapore has a growing level of tutoring for children,[40] and top tutors are often paid better than school teachers.[40][41][42] Defenders of this system recall the ancient Chinese proverb "Wealth never survives past three generations" (Chinese: 富不过三代), suggesting that the nepotism or cronyism of elitists eventually will be, and often are, limited by those lower down the hierarchy.

Singaporean academics are continuously re-examining the application of meritocracy as an ideological tool and how it's stretched to encompass the ruling party's objectives. Professor Kenneth Paul Tan at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy asserts that "meritocracy, in trying to 'isolate' merit by treating people with fundamentally unequal backgrounds as superficially the same, can be a practice that ignores and even conceals the real advantages and disadvantages that are unevenly distributed to different segments of an inherently unequal society, a practice that in fact perpetuates this fundamental inequality. In this way, those who are picked by meritocracy as having merit may already have enjoyed unfair advantages from the very beginning, ignored according to the principle of nondiscrimination".[43]

How meritocracy in the Singaporean context relates to the application of pragmatism as an ideological device, which combines strict adherence to market principles without any aversion to social engineering and little propensity for classical social welfarism,[44] is further illustrated by Kenneth Paul Tan in subsequent articles:

There is a strong ideological quality in Singapore's pragmatism, and a strongly pragmatic quality in ideological negotiations within the dynamics of hegemony. In this complex relationship, the combination of ideological and pragmatic maneuvering over the decades has resulted in the historical dominance of government by the PAP in partnership with global capital whose interests have been advanced without much reservation.[45]

Within the Ecuadorian Ministry of Labor, the Ecuadorian Meritocracy Institute[46] was created under the technical advice of the Singaporean government.

With similar objections, John Rawls rejects the ideal of meritocracy as well.[47]


The Meritocracy Trap

In his book, "The Meritocracy Trap", Daniel Markovits poses that meritocracy is responsible for the exacerbation of social stratification, to the detriment of much of the general population. He introduces the idea of "snowball inequality", a perpetually widening gap between elite workers and members of the middle class. While the elite obtain exclusive positions thanks to their wealth of demonstrated merit, they occupy jobs and oust middle class workers from the core of economic events. The elites use their high earnings to secure the best education for their own children, so that they may enter the world of work with a competitive advantage over those who did not have the same opportunities. Thus, the cycle continues with each generation

In this case, the middle class suffers decreased opportunities for individual prosperity and financial success. While it is impossible to quantify the exact effects of this social divide on the middle class, the opioid epidemic, dramatic rises in "deaths of despair"[48] (suicides, mental health and alcoholism), and lowering life expectancy in these meritocratic societies are often listed as results of it. It is not only the middle class who suffer the negative effects of meritocracy, however. The societal elite have to pay a significant price for their hectic working life. Many admit suffering from physical and mental health issues, inability to sustain a good quality personal life and a lack of time spent with their families. Children of the social elite are often forced into a highly competitive educational environment from a young age, which continues throughout school, university, and into their work life. Through this argument, the author attacks the idea of a meritocracy as a fair means to evaluate and reward the most skilled and hard-working members of society.

Markovits proposes a different approach to meritocracy, one where socioeconomic life conveniences are freely distributed to the people who are sufficiently successful at the things they are doing rather than creating an environment of ongoing competition. He calls for reform of economic roles, organizations and institutions in order to include a wider population and hence narrow the increasing inequality gap by questioning the social hegemony of high-profile workers, and intervening with redistribution of earnings, working hours and social identity on behalf of middle class workers.[49][50]

Michael Sandel develops the argument in his 2020 book The Tyranny of Merit, making a case for overhauling western neo-liberalism. Elite institutions including the Ivy League and Wall Street have corrupted the virtue, according to Sandel, and the sense of who deserves power.[51]


The term "meritocracy" was originally intended as a negative concept.[3] One of the primary concerns with meritocracy is the unclear definition of "merit".[52] What is considered as meritorious can differ with opinions as on which qualities are considered the most worthy, raising the question of which "merit" is the highest—or, in other words, which standard is the "best" standard. As the supposed effectiveness of a meritocracy is based on the supposed competence of its officials, this standard of merit cannot be arbitrary and has to also reflect the competencies required for their roles.

The reliability of the authority and system that assesses each individual's merit is another point of concern. As a meritocratic system relies on a standard of merit to measure and compare people against, the system by which this is done has to be reliable to ensure that their assessed merit accurately reflects their potential capabilities. Standardized testing, which reflects the meritocratic sorting process, has come under criticism for being rigid and unable to accurately assess many valuable qualities and potentials of students. Education theorist Bill Ayers, commenting on the limitations of standardized testing, writes that "standardized tests can't measure initiative, creativity, imagination, conceptual thinking, curiosity, effort, irony, judgment, commitment, nuance, good will, ethical reflection, or a host of other valuable dispositions and attributes. What they can measure and count are isolated skills, specific facts and function, content knowledge, the least interesting and least significant aspects of learning".[53] Merit determined through the opinionated evaluations of teachers, while being able to assess the valuable qualities that cannot be assessed by standardized testing, are unreliable as the opinions, insights, biases, and standards of the teachers vary greatly. If the system of evaluation is corrupt, non-transparent, opinionated or misguided, decisions regarding who has the highest merit can be highly fallible.

The level of education required in order to become competitive in a meritocracy may also be costly, effectively limiting candidacy for a position of power to those with the means necessary to become educated. An example of this was Chinese student self-declared messiah, Hong Xiuquan, who despite ranking first in a preliminary, nationwide imperial examination, was unable to afford further education. As such, although he did try to study in private, Hong was ultimately noncompetitive in later examinations and unable to become a bureaucrat. This economic aspect of meritocracies has been said to continue nowadays in countries without free educations, with the Supreme Court of the United States, for example, consisting only of justices who attended Harvard or Yale and generally only considering clerkship candidates who attended a top-five university, while in the 1950s the two universities only accounted for around one fifth of the justices.[54] Even if free education were provided, the resources that the parents of a student are able to provide outside of the curriculum, such as tutoring, exam preparation, and financial support for living costs during higher education will influence the education the student attains and the student's social position in a meritocratic society. This limits the fairness and justness of any meritocratic system. Similarly, feminist critics have noted that many hierarchical organisations actually favour individuals who have received disproportionate support of an informal kind (e.g. mentorship, word-of-mouth opportunities, and so on), such that only those who benefit from such supports are likely to understand these organisations as meritocratic.[55]

Cornell University economist Robert H. Frank rejects meritocracy in his book Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy.[56] He describes how chance plays a significant role in deciding who gets what that is not objectively based on merit. He does not discount the importance of hard work, but, using psychological studies, mathematical formulae, and examples, demonstrates that among groups of people performing at a high level, chance (luck) plays an enormous role in an individual's success.

Undesirable outcomes

Another concern regards the principle of incompetence, or the "Peter Principle". As people rise in a meritocratic society through the social hierarchy through their demonstrated merit, they eventually reach, and become stuck, at a level too difficult for them to perform effectively; they are promoted to incompetence. This reduces the effectiveness of a meritocratic system, the supposed main practical benefit of which is the competence of those who run the society.

In his book Meritocratic Education and Social Worthlessness (Palgrave, 2012), the philosopher Khen Lampert argued that educational meritocracy is nothing but a post-modern version of Social Darwinism. Its proponents argue that the theory justifies social inequality as being meritocratic. This social theory holds that Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection 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. Social Darwinism shares its roots with early progressivism, and was most popular from the late nineteenth century to the end of World War II. Darwin only ventured to propound his theories in a biological sense, and it is other thinkers and theorists who have applied Darwin's model normatively to unequal endowments of human ambitions.

Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel in his latest book makes a case against meritocracy, calling it a "tyranny". Ongoing stalled social mobility and increasing inequality are laying bare the crass delusion of the American Dream, and the promise "you can make it if you want and try". The latter, according to Sandel, is the main culprit of the anger and frustration which brought some Western countries towards populism.[57][58]

School meritocracy

School meritocracy is the belief that hard work leads to success. Research shows that teachers give better grades and value a lot more children who explain their problems or their behaviour with inner explanations (like the amount of efforts they gave), than those who give environmental or factual explanations (like predispositions or family background). Moreover, pupils who want to show a good image of themselves will prefer explaining their success or failures with inner characteristics rather than with external facts.

However, social classes and sex are other important factors which explain academic success, merit being only one of the determining aspects. Education system has two functions: one is to educate, and the other is to select. Indeed, in occidental societies, the education system assigns occupations to students, occupations that are very different in wealth, power, and position, through grades and diplomas that act as merit indicators. Students with very good degrees will be directed to high status jobs and students with lower degrees or no degree at all will be directed to low status jobs. As a result, one’s future depends entirely on one’s success or failure during school career, which itself depends, according to school meritocracy, on its own efforts to make it a success. School meritocracy is also linked with favouritism and with group membership.

However, school career, grades and degrees depend a lot on group belonging (sex, being from privileged or unprivileged background) to the extent that growing up with less resources (computer, educated parents who can help with homework…) and less serenity, will penalise a pupil no matter how many efforts he or she makes. It has also been discovered that the more a woman tend to believe in meritocracy, the less they would reject system explanations about men’s superiority. Believing in meritocracy is sometimes a bias, as some scientific results from studies showed that participants would work harder when they were told that success on the task was due to luck, for instance. They would also value much more one study among similar ones, based on meritocracy believes.

There are two different types of meritocracy: - Prescriptive meritocracy: how people think the system should work. - Descriptive meritocracy: how people think the system actually works.

The belief in school meritocracy (BSM) is a way to justify the social order. It is linked to the theory of social reproduction. High status group members are better off than low status group members who are disadvantaged by the hierarchies. Justifying the status by school meritocracy is a way to legitimize their position. However, school meritocracy is also a positive belief to the extent that it promotes the idea of social mobility and the fact that when one has a strong will, one can reach any status. This fact makes students from lower status groups more dependent to the meritocratic belief than students from the higher status groups, because it represents their probability to reach a higher status group. Therefore, it has been shown they can end up agreeing more in school meritocracy.[59]

See also


  1. This is the history of the meritocracy in the technical sense. The vaguer definition of a meritocracy as a "rule by intelligence" has been applied to many ancient Greek, Indian, Chinese, and Jewish thinkers and statesmen. For example, the Sanhedrin, the legislature of Ancient Israel and Kingdom of Judah, is sometimes called as an "intellectual meritocracy", in the sense that its members were drawn from religious scribes and not the aristocracy.[lower-alpha 2] Appointment was self-perpetuating, however, and new members were chosen personally by existing members.[lower-alpha 3] These are not meritocracies in the administrative sense, in which merit is determined objectively as a "tested competency or ability."[lower-alpha 4]
  2. Elazar, Daniel Judah (1985). The Jewish polity: Jewish political organization from Biblical times to the present. Indiana University Press. p. 127. ISBN 978-0253331564.
  3. Novak, David (2005). The Jewish social contract: an essay in political theology. Princeton University Press. p. 134. The Sanhedrin were appointed by those who were members when there was a vacancy
  4. Levinson, David; Cookson, Peter W.; Sadovnik, lan R. (2002). Education and sociology: an encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 436.


  1. "meritocracy".
  2. Littler, Jo (2018). Against Meritocracy: Culture, Power, and Myths of Mobility. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-138-88954-5.
  3. Fox, Margalit (25 January 2002). "Michael Young, 86, Scholar; Coined, Mocked 'Meritocracy'". The New York Times.
  4. Levinson, David; Cookson, Peter W.; Sadovnik, Alan R. (2002). Education and Sociology: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 436. Most common definition of meritocracy conceptualizes merit in terms tested competency and power, and most likely as measured by IQ or standardized achievement tests.
  5. Young (1958).
  6. "Definition of Meritocracy". Oxford Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 10 September 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  7. Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought. Fontana Press. 1988. p. 521.
  8. Aristot. Pol. 2.1261b
  9. Aristotle, (351 BC) Politics. Book Three Part IV. (Jowett, B., Trans)
  10. "Civil Service Reform". Digital History. University of Houston. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  11. What's College For?: The Struggle To Define American Higher Education; Zachary Karabell; ISBN 978-0-465-09152-2
  12. Journal of College Teaching & Learning – May 2008 Volume 5, Number 5 AACSB Accreditation
  13. Furlong, Andy; Cartmel, Fred (1 June 2009). Higher education and social justice. Maidenhead: Open University Press. ISBN 978-0-335-22362-6.
  14. Dalio, Ray (2017). Principles: Life and Work. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781501124020. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  15. Young, Michael (29 June 2001). "Down with meritocracy: The man who coined the word four decades ago wishes Tony Blair would stop using it". The Guardian. London.
  16. Ford, Boris (1992). The Cambridge cultural history of Britain. Cambridge University Press. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-521-42889-7.
  17. Kamolnick, Paul (2005). The just meritocracy: IQ, class mobility, and American social policy. Westport CT: Praeger. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-275-97922-5.
  18. Best, Shaun (2005). Understanding Social Divisions. London: Sage. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-7619-4296-2.
  19. ""meritocracy" in the Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  20. Young, Michael (1958). The rise of the meritocracy, 1870-2033: An essay on education and inequality. London: Thames & Hudson. p. 11. OCLC 3943639.
  21. Young (1958), p. 13.
  22. Young (1958), p. 15.
  23. "Crisis in Education" Archived 14 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine (p. 4).
  24. Littler, Jo (20 March 2017). "Meritocracy: the great delusion that ingrains inequality". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  25. Kazin, Edwards, and Rothman (2010), 142. One of the oldest examples of a merit-based civil service system existed in the imperial bureaucracy of China.
  26. Tan, Chung; Geng, Yinzheng (2005). India and China: twenty centuries of civilization interaction and vibrations. University of Michigan Press. p. 128. China not only produced the world's first "bureaucracy", but also the world's first "meritocracy"
  27. Konner, Melvin (2003). Unsettled: an anthropology of the Jews. Viking Compass. p. 217. ISBN 9780670032440. China is the world's oldest meritocracy
  28. Tucker, Mary Evelyn (2009). "Touching the Depths of Things: Cultivating Nature in East Asia". Ecology and the Environment: Perspectives from the Humanities. Harvard Divinity School: 51. To staff these institutions, they created the oldest meritocracy in the world, in which government appointments were based on civil service examinations that drew on the values of the Confucian Classics
  29. Sienkewicz, Thomas J. (2003). Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. Salem Press. p. 434. Confucius invented the notion that those who govern should so because of merit and not inherited status, setting in motion the creation of the imperial examinations and bureaucracies open only to those who passed tests.
  30. Burbank and Cooper (2010), 51.
  31. Kazin, Edwards, and Rothman (2010), 142.
  32. See Estlund (2003) for a summary and discussion.
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  35. Kevin Shillington, 1995 (1989), History of Africa, New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 195.
  36. Julia Horne, and Geoffrey Sherington, "Extending the educational franchise: the social contract of Australia's public universities, 1850-1890", Paedagogica Historica (2010) 46#1 pp 207-227
  37. Miriam Henry (1988). Understanding Schooling: An Introductory Sociology of Australian Education. Psychology Press. p. 81. ISBN 9780203135990.
  38. Speech by Singapore Ambassador to France, 28 August 2008. Archived 2 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  39. Ngiam Tong Dow (28 October 2006). "Singapore's elites". Little Speck. Archived from the original on 1 November 2006.
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  42. "2015 Private Tuition Rates in Singapore | Epigami Blog". Epigami Blog. 21 January 2015. Archived from the original on 14 December 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  43. Tan, Kenneth Paul (January 2008). "Meritocracy and Elitism in a Global City: Ideological Shifts in Singapore". International Political Science Review. 29 (7–27): 7–27. doi:10.1177/0192512107083445. S2CID 143983490.
  44. "Opinion | How Singapore is fixing its meritocracy". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  45. Tan, Kenneth Paul (9 December 2011). "The Ideology of Pragmatism: Neo-liberal Globalisation and Political Authoritarianism in Singapore". Journal of Contemporary Asia. 42 (1): 67–92. doi:10.1080/00472336.2012.634644. S2CID 56236985.
  46. Web page of "Instituto Nacional de Meritocracia de Ecuador", 12 March 2013.
  47. Rawls, John (1999). A Theory of Justice. Harvard University Press. pp. 91–92.
  48. Case, Anne; Angus, Deaton (2020). Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691190785.
  49. Markovits, Daniel (10 September 2019). The Meritocracy Trap. Penguin Random House.
  50. Karma, Roge (2019), "The Meritocracy Trap, explained", Vox
  51. "Michael Sandel: Why the elites don't deserve their status". UnHerd. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  52. Arrow, Bowles and Durlauf. Meritocracy and Economic Inequality. Princeton, 1999.
  53. To teach: the journey of a teacher, by William Ayers, Teachers College Press, 1993, ISBN 0-8077-3985-5, ISBN 978-0-8077-3985-3, pg. 116
  54. "Death by Degrees". n+1. n+1 Foundation, Inc. 25 June 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  55. Laurie, Timothy; Stark, Hannah; Walker, Briohny (2019), "Critical Approaches to Continental Philosophy: Intellectual Community, Disciplinary Identity, and the Politics of Inclusion", Parrhesia: A Journal of Critical Philosophy, 30: 4
  56. Princeton University Press, 2016
  57. Sandel, Michael The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2020. ISBN 9780374289980.
  58. Coman, Julian (6 September 2020). "Michael Sandel: 'The populist backlash has been a revolt against the tyranny of merit'". The Guardian.
  59. Virginie Wiederkehr, Virginie Bonnot, Silvia Krauth-Gruber, Céline Darnon. 30 July 2015. Belief in school meritocracy as a system-justifying tool for low status students.

Further reading

  • Burbank, Jane and Cooper, Frederick. (2010). Empires in World History: Power and the Politics of Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-12708-5.
  • Kazin, Michael, Edwards, Rebecca, and Rothman, Adam. (2010). The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History Volume 2. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-12971-1.
  • Kett, Joseph F. Merit: The History of a Founding Ideal From the American Revolution to the Twenty-First Century. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0801451225
  • Lampert, Khen. Meritocratic Education and Social Worthlessness, Palgrave-Macmillan, UK, 24 December 2012; ISBN 1137324880
  • Mulligan, Thomas. (2018). Justice and the Meritocratic State. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9781138283800.
  • Schwarz, Bill. (1996). The expansion of England: race, ethnicity and cultural history. Psychology Pres. ISBN 0-415-06025-7.
  • Ieva, Lorenzo. (2018). Fondamenti di meritocrazia. Rome: Europa edizioni. ISBN 978-88-9384-875-6.
  • Sandel, Michael. The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good?. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 2020. ISBN 9780374289980.
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