Meritocracy. (RP: Start here if you want to talk about inequality.)


Presenter: Nastaran Tavakoli-Far, Producer: Ivana Davidovic, Editor: Richard Knight / Feb. 18, 2019 / The Why Factor, BBC


The concept that you can get ahead on your work and talents, also called meritocracy, is something we mostly agree is good. We also equate it with a fairer society, one where the social order is not determined by birth but one which gives us some sort of agency over our futures.

However, the term itself was coined as a warning. So why do we believe in it so strongly? The sociologist Michael Young first used the term to describe a dystopia where believing in meritocracy would legitimize inequality.


(National Income inequality is measured objective by the Gini Coefficient. Here’s a good chart of where countries currently stand:

Income Inequality.png

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