‘Meritocracy’, first coined in 1958, is a social system where advancement in society is based on one’s abilities and merits rather than on the basis of family, wealth or social background. Coupled with capitalism and egalitarian values, it has allowed people from low status groups to dream of improving their social status, economic class, and place in the hierarchy. The impression is that everyone can succeed if they develop the necessary abilities. Meritocracy and equality of opportunity are championed by all kinds of politicians to achieve a fair society. People want to believe they live in a ‘fair’ society where hard work can achieve anything, regardless of their social position at birth. This is simply not true.
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