Meritocracy


Politicians from all walks of life nowadays agree on one thing: we need to build more meritocratic societies. That is, societies where everyone, no matter what their background is, has the chance to succeed on their own merits. This is a beautiful idea responsible for some great things like free education for all, positive discrimination, and a real effort to end nepotism in business and government. We’ve largely done away with the old world of feudalism where lords couldn’t manage their estates, commanders couldn’t understand the principles of battle, and peasants were brighter than their masters. No longer is background an impossible obstacle to advancement. An element of justice has finally entered into the distribution of rewards. It’s been going on for about two hundred and fifty years, ever since Napoleon declared that the ranks of the French army and civil service would henceforth be open to all on merit rather than family background. It’s been a brilliant development but there is, importantly, a darker side to the idea of meritocracy. Because if we truly believe that we’ve created or could one day create a world where the successful truly merited all their success, it necessarily follows that we’d have to argue that the failures were exclusively responsible for their failure. In a meritocratic age an element of justice enters into the distribution of wealth and status, of course, but also of poverty. Low status comes to seem not just regrettable, but also deserved. Succeeding financially, without inheritance or contacts in an economic meritocracy, gives individuals an element of personal validation that the nobleman of old, who’d been given his money and his castle by his father, had never been able to feel. But at the same time, financial failure has become associated with a sense of shame that the peasant of old, denied all chances in life, had also thankfully been spared. The question of why, if one’s in any way good, clever, or able, one is still poor becomes infinitely more acute and painful for the unsuccessful to have to answer, to themselves and other people, in a new meritocratic age. This turned out to be no shortage of people willing to answer the question on behalf of the poor. For a certain constituency it’s clear, and perhaps even scientifically provable, that the poor owe their position to their own stupidity and degeneracy. With the rise of an economic meritocracy in certain quarters, the poor have moved from being described as unfortunate, the target of the charity and guilt of the paternally minded rich, to being described as failures, fair targets of contempt in the eyes of robust, self-made individuals who are disinclined to feel ashamed about their mansions or shed crocodile tears for those whose company they’ve escaped. In the harsher climate of opinion that can gestate in the fertile corners of meritocratic societies, it’s become possible to argue that the social hierarchy rigorously reflects the qualities of the members on every rung of the ladder and so that conditions already in place for good people to succeed and the dummies to flounder, attenuating the need for charity, welfare, redistributive measures, or simple compassion. It’s a symptom of our great faith in meritocracy that it’s largely become impossible to explain away our failures as the result of bad luck. While it’s granted that luck maintains a theoretical role in shaping the course of our careers, the evaluation of people precedes in practical terms as if they could all fairly be held responsible for what happens to them. It would seem duly and even suspiciously modest to ascribe a victory to good luck and more importantly, it would be pitiable to blame defeat just on bad luck. Winners make their own luck. That’s what modern society tells us. It’s tough living in a world so in love with the idea that we’re all responsible for everything that it’s largely dismissed bad luck as a credible explanation for defeat. But, of course, there can never be a truly meritocratic system because the merit of an individual is far too complex and subtle a thing to be determined by what job you end up having
and how much money you end up earning. Those who have faith in meritocracy are essentially subscribing to an insane and certainly arrogant assumption that ordinary humans — employers or customers — can handily take over the solemn responsibilities that past ages more wisely left in the hands of a god who, helped along by the angels, was due to weigh the souls of each person on the day of judgement. No one in this world ever gets exactly what they deserve in terms both of the good things and the bad things. Life, is to a large extent we don’t quite admit to, random in a way that the meritocratic philosophy denies. To free ourselves from some of the more punishing side effects of a meritocratic world view it would be wise to cease investing something as haphazardly distributed as jobs and money with moral connotations and we should retain a little of the old-fashioned, modest belief in a distinction between what some earns and what they’re like as humans.

100 Replies to “Meritocracy

  1. I don't think free education for all is a good idea. It's like communism, it sounds great, but it ends up being a disaster. Like everything, one should fight to obtain his own education, paying for it and showing he wants to go to school. Look at what this "educational conscription" has made… An army of spoiled retards who care only about those things you (in some way, rightfully) "unnecessary".

  2. Yes, you idiots, POSITIVE DISCRIMINATION DOES PROMOTE MERITOCRACY. It's so obvious why that I'd rather not explain it. Just think of it as a riddle and give yourself a couple of days to figure it out. 😉

  3. Positive discrimination is the discrimination of groups that are known for being more advantaged, even though that's a prejudice. Just wtf. That isn't equality, it's disadvantaging other groups based on prejudices. Nice job becoming what you despise and showing your true hypocritical selves, regressive degenerates.

  4. Meritocracy states that those who are successful are intelligent or hard working, it doesn't state that those who aren't are stupid and lazy. That's a converse fallacy!!

  5. a chance to succeed on their own merits not on the merits of others like Vanessa Paradis does stealing my dystopian novel and my salaries with the complicity of french magistrates !

  6. This is delusional nonsense to suggest that this is what's going on now and has been. Sure some folks have pulled it off but the vast majority…. not so much.

  7. im really sad about the fact that when they say nepotism,they show a photo of the second president of indonesia family,keluarga cendana. it's showed us just how corrupted my country is.

  8. Congrats you just transformed I idea central to capitalism and minimal government into a pro-equal results communist/socialistic idea…. well done ass hats.

  9. if you think everyone has equal chances you are daydreaming. a multinational corporation bought a big factory. not matter how much loans you ask, the bank will never give you that money. also they give you if you have a good salary – so the system wants you to be an employee, and borrow money for consumerism. meritocracy my ass

  10. I agree to say that positive discrimination isn't good as said in the video but I have the impression that people only cares about that in the comments

  11. It is simply false that we must argue that failures are merited, because everyone fails in their goals sometimes due to various circumstances outside of their control. A meritocracy is consistent with a lack of culpability for some of our failures.

  12. why using "I want to look intelligent, I want to be taken as a serious philosopher" sentences?? You should make a video about these kind of "trying to look like a philosopher" persons

  13. Only fools think we have ever lived in a meritocracy, so to say that poor are failures is untrue.

    Certainly there are those with more opportunity that waste them, and those without who overcome their disadvantages, we should still aim for meritocracy, but one can choose to be poorer and have OTHER positive qualities that don't have renumerative value.

  14. Hey let's make a intro about a video talking about Meritocracy!
    puts Obama as a politician that supports Meritocracy

  15. Good video for its length. Points out the problems with meritocracy or the belief in it. The problems noted are borne out by research. See the article here: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/07/internalizing-the-myth-of-meritocracy/535035/ which says;
    “Students who are told that things are fair implode pretty quickly in middle school as self-doubt hits them,” he said, “and they begin to blame themselves for problems they can’t control.”

    "Barrett’s personal observation is validated by a newly published study in the peer-reviewed journal Child Development that finds traditionally marginalized youth who grew up believing in the American ideal that hard work and perseverance naturally lead to success show a decline in self-esteem and an increase in risky behaviors during their middle-school years."

  16. To be honest, as a currently poor individual, a high percentage of the poor within our own country that is, are responsible for the situation they are in.. due to ignorance, lack of education and ironically arrogance, I've always felt as though you are as successful as a you choose to be through education whether it be institutional or self taught. The internet opens up the possibility for anyone to be ingenious. It a
    Just depends on the individual, this is the birth of true meritocracy., for example I left school during 9th grade yet I have been able to educate myself to far beyond a degree in aerospace engineering

  17. Here I thought merit was benefiting those at the bottom. For instance, in a meritocracy, equal opportunity is necessary and therefore those of merit are charged with the responsibility of making sure those at the bottom do not get stuck in poverty traps.

  18. The problem this video is aiming at, yet misses, is that we do not truly live in a meritocracy. Rather, we live in a society that thinks it is meritocratic, yet many people start life at advantages or disadvantages based off things like, the area you grew up in, whether your parents were educated, if you inherited money or even inherited good connections. The fault lies in those who believe we live in an idealized meritocratic society and then go on to blame those who were born disadvantaged for not achieving the same as those born advantaged. In a truly meritocratic society, everyone would have the same quality of education and the same job opportunities, "luck" would be almost irrelevant and nonexistent.

  19. Meritocracy is a noble goal for any society, but even once gene-editing is adequately researched that it becomes widely available at least for adults (and hopefully government-subsidized for low income individuals so as to prevent the possibility of a Gattaca-like caste system) there will still be the factor of luck. That is a compelling reason to help the unfortunate, but there is an even bigger one.

    A big problem in Western society is that practically every question of morality or public policy is always framed in terms of the individual and what the individual deserves and never bothers to consider collective effects. (That some people are probably reading the word "collective" and automatically assuming I'm some sort of commie further proves this point.)

    An even more compelling reason we should help the impoverished is because not helping them has negative effects on society at large, regardless of whether or not the individual in question "deserves" their poverty. Regardless of whose decisions lead to someone being severely impoverished lacking basic necessities or any opportunity for advancement leads to unrest and social instability. Desperate people often turn to crime, and sometimes demagogues appeal to desperate people and you wind up with tyrannies like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union establishing themselves.

    Also, people given second chances may have learned from their past mistakes and pursue a more productive life, which is beneficial for the overall economy and tax base in the long-term. And if we provide them with some educational opportunities it's also beneficial in having a more educated electorate.

  20. When all is said and done – concerning the Meritocracy debate movement and philosophy – people are still being mislead as to its truest meaning and function; moreover what Meritocracy really is. I'm wondering if the critiques of Meritocracy(including the author of this upload), have even taken the time to read the definition. "Meritocracy is a political philosophy stating that power should be vested in individuals almost exclusively based on ability and talent. Advancement in such a system is based on performance measured through examination and/or demonstrated achievement in the field where it is implemented." Having the brightest and knowledgeable in their chosen fields, ahead of non experts acting as avatars for private interests before – and above – the interests of the common good, is somehow insane? Meritocracy is being hijacked and the movement polarised. Tedious!

  21. I would argue against these points heavily, that despite the possibility of misfortune in our birth and domestic circumstances much of it is possible to overcome: history has shown it, through the rise/fall of Greek and Roman empires to the immeasurable innovations of the early capitalists. I would say the meaning of meritocracy is lost on us because we have largely lost the will to power as a society in favor of globalism and existential nonsense

  22. We can never say we are truly independent unless we can live without eating, sleeping, or breathing air from the earth's sky in order to survive.

  23. Positive discrimimation is still discrimination, and is therefore a textbook example of something that is NOT supposed to be in a meritocratic society

  24. 0:14 "This is a beautiful idea responsible for some good things… positive discrimination"
    Positive discrimination is still discrimination.

  25. Here are my thoughts on meritocracy – I'm interested to hear people's comments/disagreements.

    Meritocracy is clearly not a perfect system, but it is certainly more likely to provide an outcome for the individual closer to what they deserve than (for example) Marxism or Feudalism. In the absence of a perfect model, we should use the best one available.

    Randomness in genes, environment, available opportunities and a host of other factors all play a role in determining an individual's success (this is natural and unavoidable), but they are not the only weightings in the model. Mindset, work ethic, competence, creativity and the other positive traits that constitute 'merit' can be cultivated by the individual, and it is right that this is rewarded. Meritocratic systems produce some unfair outcomes due to the random factors, but are less likely to produce an unfair outcome than a purely random selection, or a system based on equality of outcome.

    Personally, I disagree with the fairness of positive discrimination on the grounds that ethnicity (and gender, religion, hair colour, etc.) are random factor beyond the control of the individual, and should not be considered a measure of an applicant's fitness.

  26. You are so biased, it's actually disgusting. I'd like everyone to go and see what does the school of life says about communism and compare, you'll clearly see what does this page stand for.

  27. The merit of someone is not in his "success" or something similarly silly and superficial.

    We are human. So we have merit.

    The rest is mere footnotes.

  28. You lack understanding of meritocracy. You've failed to include the provisions of opportunity, you fail to understand we do not live in a meritocratic society yet you ascribe the failings of society to a system which is not in place, you wrongly ascribe an arrogance to meritocracy which is dependent not on the idea of meritocracy but is dependent on the surrounding culture. Put simple; you don't know what your talking about and your speaking out your ass.

  29. Meritocracy can only exist if high ses parents can't pass their socioeconomic status to their children, and knowing the right people doesn't give you either an advantage over another job applicant, or the advantage of knowing about a job opening that no one else knows about.

  30. The reason meritocracy is enforcing free education, is so that the poor have the same opportunity in getting a job as the middle class people. I mean how more equal can "free" be? The only situation in which one is not responsible for his failure is in case of severe illness or an accident. People that are outside of this category should be thankful for the idea of meritocracy in my humble opinion.

  31. Edit: I've realised upon review that my comment is flawed, due to a misconception I had – I extrapolated my take on meritocracy to all meritocracy. But due to my convoluted sense of humour, for lack of a better explanation, I've left the original comment:

    You've used examples of a society that isn't truly meritocratic, that being our current one, to argue against a true meritocracy. Firstly, a true meritocracy (if it existed) would, on the practical and individual level, reward people justly on their skill, so there would be no disparity between your skill and prosperity. Secondly, your argument doesn't even apply to economic and social prosperity, as this is due to one's usefulness to society and the economy, not your sum and total usefulness, of which much isn't clear; let alone one's potential, or intrinsically untapped intelligence – not to mention your moral standing and human value!

    There is a large disparity between the usefulness of a person to others, and their moral value – while the former prescribes your position of wealth in a true meritocracy, it doesn't define the latter.

  32. There are a lot of misconceptions about true meritocracy, essentially shadowed by the idealistic nature of the authors :

    0:06 : Nope. In fact, half of the personnalities presented as "meritocratic" are against such narrative, promoting instead discriminations through ethnicity and religion. The latter one promoting decrees for quota of such ethnic group or such gender in businesses, regardless of skills.
    0:20 : positive discrimination is still what it is, discrimination. So no, it's not part of meritocracy.
    0:30 : disproportionate neo-liberal cliché.
    0:42 : before justice, meritocracy is about optimisation of assets. It's not really a tool for social justice.
    0:49 : No. Not remotely enough to be called true meritocracy. Or the other hand, egalitarianism has progressed.
    1:20 : Well, that's the end game. Make aware oneself of its responsibilities for he won't be able to reject the fault on society and instead make everything in his power to improve himself and so better contribute to society leading him to be more rewarded.
    Also, one great misconception : the loosers automatically being poor. There is nothing proving the inevitability of such statement, it's mainly the consequence of the enlightened nature of the authors.
    2:24 : Again, personnalities that have nothing to do with meritocracy, due to a misconception on such concept.
    2:40 : This is a marxist approach which, once again, have nothing to do with actual meritocracy. Your are opposing people as meritocracy promote a cooperative structure. Meritocracy is not about adversity (and hierarchies are not inherently evil).
    3:25 : Charity, welfare and redistribution are an attempt to limit the failures of an economical and social structure (which is, nowadays blatantly failing). If a meritocracy works properly, there is no need in these.
    3:35 : It's more likely the symptom of idealistic people wrongly interpreting meritocracy as a "patriarchal tyrannical system", i'm afraid.
    3:50 : Those are, of course, the exceptions, not the rules. Imagine a society were people can't be evaluate and so not held responsible of what they are. Just because "disparate random luck exist". Today, we don't properly make the tools to evaluate the most aptly, but it doesn't justify the concept itself of meritocracy is flawed.
    4:18 : And in what manner does it prevent us to explore, test and achieve ? What makes you come to the conclusion it's impossible ? If you forbid such practice in the first place, it makes you totalitarian.
    4:30 : Thus proving the point this video is arbitrary and biased. The authors are blinded by their preconception over meritocracy, about adversity and egalitarianism, shaping an unjustified dystopia over meritocracy.
    4:44 : So no one shall be judged over the responsibilities one is taking, making a surrealistic parallel with "the one judging the worthiness of others are having god complex". This is absurd.
    5:05 : It's very subjectif to say life is "random". It's like saying the "weather can't be the same each day". Yet again, it doesn't excuse to not structuriez a society for the ones which are the more contributing in it don't have to be equally rewarded. Jobs and social status are respectively the best way to, first channel the ones skills and efforts into producing a relevant outcome for society, then the most stimulating way to motivate oneself to contribute. That's how western civilization has been building itself over the past centuries, with great success. That's how you'll stimulate innovations : medical and technological likewise.
    5:19 : Again, shortcuts are being made that don't held any signification in the debate. And i think it underlines the biggest default of this video : it's applying a false concept of meritocracy in a setting (contemporary) that the authors consider the most definitive/achieved one, denying any possible evolution/adaptation of society in the process. "Jobs and money" are the contemporary focus for there is a consumerism drive and a strong individualism. These phenomena are so internalized, normalized, in the mind of the authors, they are considered as self-evident when developing a setting for build meritocracy in it. I'll say, once these two phenomena balanced, achieving a cooperative, non tyrannical meritocracy on his way to reward its members properly, is entirely possible.

  33. IF MERITOCRACY IS NOT THE BEST OPTION, THEN MEN &/OR WOMEN ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL. AGAIN IT PROVES HYPOCRYTES AND DOUBLE STANDARDS.

  34. As a child of an emotionally abusive alcoholic single mother, and the suffering from the numerous psychological issues brought about by such an upbringing, including, but not limited to low self esteem, depression, lack of hope and pride, and motivation… I can confirm the darker side of a meritocracy can be quite brutal and cold..

    The problem of course is only exacerbated by the fact that I am a white male, leaving a great deal of expectation for financial success which, if not met, labels me as a "loser"… White Privilege? Hah! More like White BURDEN… But I digress.

  35. Isn't meritocracy just basically capitalism?? Free market where you are rewarded for your abilities (superior products & services) and punished for your weaknesses (inferior products & services)

  36. This is ridiculous on so many levels. You are denying people of their own agency and ability to thrive if you take away their right to decide for themselves how to approach life. Meritocracy at least sets the rules out and tells you what you need to do to succeed.
    Is everyone the same to succeed equally? no. But people are good at different things and there is a place when someone has 'enough' of what they feel they need. Capitalism makes both of those happen.

  37. This is why we need communism. All men are equal. A person spending 8 hours a day laying bricks is doing the same amount of labor as one spending 8 hours baking souffle. They both deserve food, shelter and fair pay. Merit is work, not "talent"

  38. The notion of meritocracy we have today – that everyone, no matter of back ground has the same access to success so long as we work for it, just facilitates the idea of a feckless work shy underclass that deserve their position. All while we exist in a society so inherently unequal where meritocracy as a myth and is the idea of it is now used as a weapon against the working class and a mechanism to legitimise class hate.

  39. Meritocracy has been going on longer, actually its been going on since ancient china in the Qin and Han dynasties @The School of Life

  40. well in Sharia law when slavery legal, slaves were tend to get half of the punisment were free person gets full and if the punishment is not indivisible they less likely to be seen culpable. That can be called "positive discrimination"

  41. Each time I watch a video explaining political or societal issues and showing their view is another time I realise their bad philosophy and how much they do not think about these issues. Meritocracy does really discriminate against the poor. Meritocracy is based on merit and anyone like they said "from any backround" can succed based on merit. We still consider the poor as unfortunate and having not "bad luck" as meritocracy doesn't adhere because it believes in hard work. That is the result of merit. Merit makes people higher if they have good ideas and skills and we lower the ones who do have low merit so to speak. This is a revolutionary action contrary to the hierachy in the middle ages. This system show the equality between the rich and the poor as of social and opportunity outlook. Do you know that many big comapanies started by poor or middle class families? We still consider the poor as equal.

  42. the word descrimination is always bad you can spin it in any way but it is still discirimination ergo it is bad

  43. Check out these videos by Diabolically Informative if you really wanna know where Meritocracy: https://youtu.be/6GUxYKdaVTo

  44. What you are describing is meritosocietas or meritoeconomicas. Meritocracy is rule by the meritorious, not "muh meritorious earn more money"

  45. The greatest example of a meritocracy was the German army in ww2, the Prussian class was demoted by Hitler and istead succesfull soldiers and commanders rose in rank and were decorated accordingly.

  46. Positive discrimination or affirmative action is a way of redressing the disadvantages caused to people who've been subjected to disadvantages due to historical and current discrimination and systemic injustice. It's a way of fighting discrimination and giving the oppressed room to escape the cycle of oppression, injustice and poverty.

  47. why can't we have a bit of meritocracy mixed with democracy. Have the people vote for a direction they want the country to go in instead of 'leaders' (who may be corrupt) and have the country select people for those tasks based on their merit or expertise (without conflicts of interest). That will be the duty to their country, to really and truly serve it right.

  48. For someone to succeed, others have to fail, for someone to win, others have to lose, for someone to become rich, others have to become poor.

  49. LOL what sort of utter left wing propaganda bullshit it this? Socialism always morphs into feudalism. The left wing despises the notion of competition. They hate the notion of ownership of property by the INDIVIDUAL. The left promote a strong central government. Therefore, they want the SERF CLASS to be subdued and they want to turn the entire middle class into the serf class, or more to the point, entirely dependent on government.

    That, is why we see so many from these glorious socialist utopias like Cuba that the left wing elites like Michael Moore love to praise, desperately trying to get to the LAND OF OPPORTUNITY. Another thing the left attack with their best weapon (identity politics via the race card) try to destroy. Try telling the average left wing moron that America is the land of opportunity. Watch the idiot giggle as they mock you then ask why do so many poor people from Cuba risk their lives to get here, and why isn't there one report of poor Americans ever trying to sail down to Cuba to escape American "tyranny." They won't engage. They will retreat to their safe spaces, better known as echo chambers of like minded spoiled idiots. Not before tossing the race card like a grenade at you and ignoring the point that they cant respond to.

    Want more proof. Look at what mass regulation in California is doing to the middle class there. All but totally priced out and that is why tent cities are sprouting up everywhere. That is why California is now threatened by a mass bubonic plague outbreak. Something not seen since FEUDALISM DAYS in Europe.

    What kind of utter shit is this?

  50. The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was motivational speakers and all those motivational videos on here. It seems that they all prescribe to this idea of meritocracy.

  51. meritocracy is what greedy wealthy people have always been using as a weapon to maintain the status quo, as if they earned everything they have through some kinda hard work or supper human ability.

  52. wait a second, 00:23 is a picture of super-wealthy family in Indonesia, lead by Soeharto, an authoritarian president in Indonesia.

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