A meritocracy is a society and economy that focuses on rewarding efforts and capability and does not base on the status of the family. Sources have confirmed that individual capabilities are often inherited. Educational accomplishment is usually affected by family setups, which correlates with both effort and ability. American citizens, for instance, have equated a meritocracy with equality and opportunity together with a forgiving, open, and publicly funded schools meant for everyone. In USA, education is considered a great equalizer and generator of a just meritocracy (Arrow, Bowles & Durlauf 81). Based on the argument of functionalists, educational systems in present day industrial societies are all meritocratic. Providing equal opportunities in support of education in different groups assists in realizing potentials and thus invokes the capacity to be upwardly mobile. In the long run, this tends to change the structure of social inequality.
The Marxism approach raises the argument that the aspect of a meritocratic educational system is like a myth and causes social inequality. The attainment of education, to some extent, depends on the ascribed status. Middle class students, in this case, are likely to achieve thrive well in school if they labeled as “good-ideal” students. Another criticism by the Marxists is that the educational system has failed in observing lower class for being material deprived. The best example of a less meritocratic system is that of the British educational system that has proved that there is no equal opportunity, since the system only guarantees that who can afford university, and those are extremely talented (Tangwa 38).
According to the aforementioned knowledge of Tangwa (47), competitive educational systems of capitalist societies have never been designed to give a proper chance to the concerned. However, their way of design ensured that many failed and; later became members of the proletariat. Based on the argument of the theory of ‘sifting’ and ‘sorting’ students according to talent and ability by Davis and Moore, this method works by only allowing more talented to fill the major significant roles needed in the economic system.
Though there are variations in the Marxist and Functionalist approaches on the views regarding the education system, the two require empirical evidence meant to support their arguments. The major proposition here is that meritocracy should be geared towards the provision of equal employment to everyone. Further, a system of meritocracy should be capable of offering similar testing ground to all, irrespective of one’s family background and wealth, as well. The assessment of the system of meritocracy of any individual should be the one that targets evaluating their abilities and skills. Of key to note here is that this is the common sense of what humans know about meritocracy. This case portrays the end goal of meritocracy (that of ensuring social equity); because the society only seeks to reward individuals based in their demonstration of specified traits and competencies, and in the process, all other irrelevant factors are ignored.
It is only through meritocracy that both the rich and the poor have an open door of being rewarded by society, only if they show that they truly deserve it. The poor can be rewarded if they are worth of the reward. The uppermost question to consider guiding our reflections is embedded on whether it should reward effort or type. The major justification that seeks to reward individuals by merit is that it encourages effort. It is a likely anticipation that an economist may argue that meritocracy assists a society to manage the problem of moral hazard arising in the course of allocating rewards (Arrow, Bowles & Durlauf 78).
Tangwa, G. B. (2010). Road companion to democracy and meritocracy further essays from an African perspective. Mankon, Bamenda: Langaa ;.
Arrow, K. J., Bowles, S., & Durlauf, S. N. (2000). Meritocracy and economic inequality. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.