Meritocracy

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Abstract

“Meritocracy” is a type of society, structure, or arrangement that distributes resources, roles, and esteem according to merit. The term refers to criteria of allocation of positions, roles, prestige, power, and economic reward whereby excellent individuals receive greater rewards than others. Those criteria are based on achieved rather than ascribed characteristics and reflect the assumption that, while achievements of merit are rare and difficult to attain, they are culturally valued. The term also denotes the “rule of the talented,” a system of governance wherein the brightest and most conscientious individuals are accurately and efficiently assigned to occupy the most important positions, on the basis of talent and achievement. Crucially, the modern capitalist system—which combines the ideals of morality and efficiency—rests on the constitution and maintenance of meritocratic arrangements.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationWiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 3: H-M
Place of PublicationChichester, West Sussex, UK
ISBN (Electronic)9781118663202
StatePublished - 30 Dec 2015

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