Young, M ~ The Rise of the Meritocracy

Young, Michael
The Rise of the Meritocracy

For every man enlivened by excellence, ten are deadened by mediocrity, and the object of good government is to ensure that the latter do not usurp the place in the social order which should belong to their betters. Of one method by which this has been done I have already spoken – it was by weakening the power of the family. The other complementary method of advance, to which I now turn, has been to enhance the influence of the school.

Previously Labour, with support from low-caste ability, stood for progress against the high-caste leadership of the Conservatives. Then the two changed sides, and the Conservatives, with the new meritocracy growing in strength behind them, came to represent progress (up till just recently, that is) against socialists who obstinately persisted in their increasingly irrelevant attachment to egalitarianism.

Second-rate teachers, a second-rate elite: the meritocracy can never be better than its teachers. Things improved until at last the teachers attained their ideal of superiority of esteem. One of the wisest strokes of the marvellous decade was to put the salaries of science teachers on the same level as scientists in industry and all grammar-school teachers on the same level as their scientific colleagues. The schools could then attract good scientists; they got the very pick of other teachers.

Within the span of human history age has been the most enduring ruling class: once established, every aristocracy, every plutocracy, every bureaucracy, has also been a gerontocracy; and even under democracy, government by the people, of the people, for the people, meant government by old people, of young people, for old people.

About the author

Woitek Konzal

Producer, Consultant, Lecturer & Researcher. I love working where technology meets media in novel ways. Once, I even won an Emmy for digital innovation doing that. Be it for a small but exciting campaign about underground electronic music collectives or for a monster project combining two movies, various 360° videos, 72 ARG-like mini puzzles, and a Unity game, all wrapped up in one cross-platform app – I have proven my ability to adapt to what is required. This passion for novel technologies has regularly allowed me to cross paths with tech startups – an industry and philosophy I am all set to engage with more. I intensely enjoy balancing out my practical work with academic research, teaching, and consulting. Also, I have a PhD in Creative Industries, a M.Sc. in Business Administration, and love to kitesurf.

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