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Wednesday October 28, 2020
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Perception

Discernment of Merit Based World !

Bidhi Mandal
Bidhi Mandal 4 MONTHS AGO 441 views
Perception Sebastian Voortman From Pexels

Meritocracy, a term that came into existence about only 60 years ago, seems to have taken the world by storm. We now more than ever believe in its vision, in which power and privilege would be allocated by individual merit and not by social origins. This beautiful idea has allowed us to make some of the most amazing changes in our society. It has helped us simplify social mobility, make education available to all, and has provided various disciplines with some of the greatest minds of all time. In comparison to the past, where the financial and social status of a person solely depended on their family backgrounds, meritocracy indeed is a brilliant development. Our background is no longer an obstacle that’s impossible to overcome on our way to success. But no matter how brilliant and liberating this idea might seem, it does have a darker side to it. 

 

As we keep on believing that we have created a world where successful people are entirely responsible for their success, we also don’t wish to escape the idea that failures are responsible for their failure. In our society, where we’re constantly told that everyone in today's time is able to make the best of their lives. That our hard work, risk-taking attitude, and consistency are the determinant factors of our success. We also end up believing that failures come as a result of one’s laziness or lack of merit. In a meritocratic society, poverty becomes justified and the sufferings of the poor well deserved. But what we do end up forgetting are few of the major realities.

 

First, our societies are flawed. No matter how hard we’ve tried to live up to this idea, it remains very utopian. We might argue that we’ve, to our full potential, tried to bring an element of justice in the process of distribution of rewards. But sadly, nepotism and corruption still hold the capability of making people who lack merits, successful. Our society still gives privileges to certain groups and classes of people. And merits are often a product of those privileges.

 

Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

(Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels)
 

Take education for instance. Rich parents can pass their privilege to their children. The earliest environment influences the child most on how the brain evolves and develops the capacity to learn. By attending the richest schools in the nation, those children can further use various resources and the finest faculties to train themselves to be the best. That can help them achieve high scores in entrance exams and attend prestigious universities. And eventually, allow them to get high paying jobs. Something that becomes very hard for children from low-income families to achieve. The social position and income of parents is by far the most important metric to predict future success. Making the luck of the parental lottery almost impossible to overcome and allowing the systematic error to continue. 

 

Second, life is random. Claiming that our successes are solely dependent upon our merits won’t be fair enough. Luck is also a very key determinant of our successes, no matter how much we love to deny the fact. And as we see our success as a sole result of merits, we end up seeing someone else’s failures as the sole result of a lack of merits. We don’t very well like to accept bad luck as an excuse for incompetence. A meritocratic society turns someone who has failed to succeed from unfortunates to losers. What we forget here is, no one in this world exactly gets what they deserve in terms of both good things and bad things. Life is just too arbitrary for that to happen. 

 

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Third, there can never be a truly meritocratic system. Merits of an individual are far too complex and subtle things to determine what job you’ll end up having or how much you’ll be paid for that. We can never justly determine ways to financially pay someone based on their merits nor can we create jobs that allow someone to use all their best and brightest sides.

 

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Meritocracy is a fascinating idea but it should never become a viable justification for or a way to conceal enforcement of injustice in our society, especially not with those flaws. Poverty and inequality are a result of our systemic, governmental, and societal failure; and we can’t run away from that fact. We need to collectively find ways to actually solve these global issues and not just make poor targets of charity and guilt of paternally minded rich. Until then we should see poor people as unfortunates who deserve compassion rather than contempt. And belief in a modest difference between what people earn and how they are like humans. Our current meritocratic society is only slightly less unjust than the earlier one that was based on inherited land and title. And it requires frequent evaluations and speculations to stop itself from being a new form of aristocracy- a “meritocratic” aristocracy. 

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