The Rise of the Meritocracy

Transaction Publishers
5
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Michael Young has christened the oligarchy of the future “Meritocracy.” Indeed, the word is now part of the English language. It would appear that the formula: IQ+Effort=Merit may well constitute the basic belief of the ruling class in the twenty-first century. Projecting himself into the year 2034, the author of this sociological satire shows how present decisions and practices may remold our society. It is widespread knowledge that it is insufficient to be somebody's nephew to obtain a responsible post in business, government, teaching, or science. Experts in education and selection apply scientific principles to sift out the leaders of tomorrow. You need intelligence rating, qualification, experience, application, and a certain caliber to achieve status. In a word, one must show merit to advance in the new society of tomorrow. In a new opening essay, Young reflects on the reception of his work, and its production, in a candid and lively way. Many of the critical ambiguities surrounding its original publication are now clarified and resolved. What we have is what the Guardian of London called “A brilliant essay.” and what Time and Tide described as “a fountain gush of new ideas. Its wit and style make it compulsively enjoyable reading from cover to cover.”
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About the author

Michael F.D. Young studied at the universities of Cambridge and Essex and the former Regent Polytechnic. He is Senior Lecturer in Sociology of Education at the University of London Institute of Education, and was previously Head of Science at the London Nautical School.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Transaction Publishers
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Published on
Dec 31, 2011
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Pages
180
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ISBN
9781412815727
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / General
Health & Fitness / Diseases / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A powerful and original argument that traces the roots of our present crisis of authority to an unlikely source: the meritocracy.

Over the past decade, Americans watched in bafflement and rage as one institution after another –  from Wall Street to Congress, the Catholic Church to corporate America, even Major League Baseball – imploded under the weight of corruption and incompetence. In the wake of the Fail Decade, Americans have historically low levels of trust in their institutions; the social contract between ordinary citizens and elites lies in tatters.

How did we get here? With Twilight of the Elites, Christopher Hayes offers a radically novel answer. Since the 1960s, as the meritocracy elevated a more diverse group of men and women into power, they learned to embrace the accelerating inequality that had placed them near the very top. Their ascension heightened social distance and spawned a new American elite--one more prone to failure and corruption than any that came before it.

Mixing deft political analysis, timely social commentary, and deep historical understanding, Twilight of the Elites describes how the society we have come to inhabit – utterly forgiving at the top and relentlessly punitive at the bottom – produces leaders who are out of touch with the people they have been trusted to govern. Hayes argues that the public's failure to trust the federal government, corporate America, and the media has led to a crisis of authority that threatens to engulf not just our politics but our day-to-day lives.

Upending well-worn ideological and partisan categories, Hayes entirely reorients our perspective on our times. Twilight of the Elites is the defining work of social criticism for the post-bailout age.
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