Meritocracy is defined as a system based on ability, where those with talent and merits are chosen to move ahead on the basis of their own merit. It is also defined as leadership of the elites, selected on the basis of intellectual criteria.
The origin of the word Meritocracy can be seen as from the book ‘Rise of Meritocracy’ by Michael Dunlop Young, written in 1958. In it he wrote a formula ‘ I + E = M’. Which essentially means that intelligence plus effort would equate up to merit. In this book, the setting is the year 2034, and Michael writes about the disadvantages of the system of meritocracy, writing that not only will those with a low IQ hate the system, everyone will find the ranking of every human being by intelligence offensive.
Meritocracy is somtimes also associated with Confucianism , as confucius promoted a sense of meritocracy too.
One of the pros of meritocracy is that people get rewarded for their effort in trying to achieve the best. This will in turn motivate many people to work hard and put in effort in what they are doing as they know that if they do it well, they will get rewarded and recognised.
Another pro about meritocracy is that with those of the highest intelligence leading the country and representing the country, the chances of the system succeeding and the chances of the society surviving and flourishing is high. With the best being the leaders, development and organisation would also reach a high level.
Another pro about meritocracy is that the intelligence level of the society as a whole will increase. With intense competition, each individual will be motivated and forced to excel academically and intellectually. This will cause the general intelligence level of the society to increase.
Of course, meritocracy is not without its flaws and cons. One of the cons of meritocracy is that there would be a high chance that due to the intense pressure and competition in place, many individuals will not be happy in the society. They would feel a great deal of stress put upon them, be it by themselves, their associates, their parents etc. This stress if in a large amount is detrimental to the mental health of the individuals.
Another one of the cons is that the system pits people against each other, creating winners and losers, causing them to be afraid to fail, influencing them to take lesser risks. This would in turn see the decline in business profits as there would be less people taking risks. Many opportunities would also be missed by the business field and causing a possible economical problems.
Countries using Meritocracy
Singapore is one of the countries using Meritocracy as part of their government systems. Others include the 19th century Finland and the Venetian Republic.
There are also other countries such as the United States of America that has meritocracy used in some parts of its country, for example, America has a meritocratic education system, where only those that are good can excel and continue.
Meritocracy is accepted by many that people are recognised and rewarded for their effort and their intelligence. However, some still feel that the system may cause an outbreak of a talent war and that might make the society appear as a war zone with each individual trusting only him or her and no others. Some are also worried that meritocracy will cause the society to be an elitist society where those that are not very talented will stand to lose.
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