Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Word of the Hour

The word of current—right now—is: meritocracy. According to Merriam-Webster, it means:

1 : a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement

2 : leadership selected on the basis of intellectual criteria

I’ve heard or read the word thrice in the past couple of weeks. Before that, I’m not sure I’ve encountered it at all. Apparently, the term was first used in Michael Young's 1958 book Rise of the Meritocracy, where it was intended to be pejorative. His book is set in a dreary, dismal future in which one's social place is determined by IQ plus effort.

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