In Defense of Meritocracy

In Defense of Meritocracy
(Jessica Christian/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

How should a society allocate its most important, lucrative, and prestigious positions? In most places, for most of history, the question had a simple answer: by heredity. Monarchs and aristocrats held almost all the society’s power and wealth and passed their positions on to their offspring. Over the last two hundred years a different system came to supplant hereditary privilege. The new system distributes positions through evidence of cognitive and intellectual skills as measured by performance on competitive, standardized examinations. It is called meritocracy.

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