Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Heng Swee Keat: Meritocracy is not a dirty word

Avoid making meritocracy a dirty word? Had meritocracy been as fresh and new as a generation ago, we will not consider it a dirty word. What has happened to meritocracy? Why are more and more people losing faith in it? The words of Michael Young was prophetic. He was the sociologist who coined the word in the first place and thought deeply about it. That was in the 1950s. Fast forward to 2001, he had this to say about meritocracy.

Read his full commentary in the Guardian newspaper.

Meritocracy could still serve us with less sterling results and declining acceptance for a while but we must think of the hereafter. Meritocracy is a great train ride for sometime but will end in a crash eventually. We are seeing the warning signs everywhere already. Why wouldn't meritocracy not be a dirty word for more and more people?

This post came about from ideas in an article on Luck by Howard Marks my ex-boss sent me for CNY reading.

1 comment:

  1. Ironic that the man who coined the word that is the principle underlying this nation, actually wanted to warn us about its dangers. Makes me wonder, could it be possible that a person as strategic and thorough in both thinking and action such as this nation's founding father had missed all of the warnings sounded in the book, or were excerpts lifted blindly from the book without giving considerations to the context, to serve social or political purposes? Given how many times the word meritocracy has come up in ministerial speeches throughout the years, is it possible that not a single bright spark from the elite administrative service even bothered to read Young's satire, and hence, relay his warnings to the power that be? Perhaps meritocracy's ostensible purpose is to sieve out the best from the rest, when in actual fact the intent right from the onset was to create a certain elitist social class loyal to the pope and his cardinals. But then again, I'm an incorrigible conspiracy theorist.