‘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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The name Diego Garcia sounds more like the name of a person rather than of an island part of the Chagos Archipelago situated in the middle of the Indian Ocean. This 44 square kilometres (17 square mile) atoll has been considered as one of the most valuable pieces of real estate on Earth because of its very important geostrategic location. Probably few have even heard of it. The footprint-shaped atoll lies in the middle of the Indian Ocean, at the tip of a chain of coral islands whose tropical beauty belies a difficult history.Read more
The recent displacement of over 700,000 ethnic Rohingyan refugees from a population of 1.1 million in Myanmar has been pronounced both a ‘human rights nightmare’ and the ‘world's fastest developing refugee emergency’. Although Rohingyan refugees from Myanmar fleeing violence and persecution into neighbouring states has occurred for decades, the extent of state sponsored violence and sheer scale of Rohingyan relocation has seen the 2017 refugee crisis in Myanmar characterised as a ‘looming human catastrophe’ and ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’.Read more
Resistance as a response to injustice and social inequities is not new. It is part of the experience of many religious and secular groups. It has received a boost as people protest top-down abuse of power: women’s rights and domestic violence; rights of asylum seekers, Indigenous people, climate justice, gay rights and racism. Social media has put resistance on the radar. It occurs within a particular social context and requires navigating various social, political, and economic relationships.
Affordable housing will clearly be a major issue in the May 2017 budget, both for families and young people being priced out of the market, as well as for the increasing number of over 55’s who, because of personal circumstances, are finding themselves homeless. The May budget, however, will not necessarily solve this issue.