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The Merits of a Meritorious Meritocratic Society

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I don’t quite know what happened. The post below is one that I thought I had put up on 13 January, which is why I referred to it in my 14 January post. Thankfully, an attentive reader pointed out the mistake and so I am able to rectify it.

I learned a new term new today (thank you, MacLean’s): that Canada is a meritocratic society.  A meritocracy is a system or society in which people have influence or status according to their abilities and achievements rather than because of their social class (thank you, Onelook.com).

This concept is all the more interesting to me that I believe it’s up to the people at the grassroots, people like you and me, to arise and work on advancing human civilization. You would imagine that in Canada, a supposedly meritocratic society, people at the grassroots who are working hard and achieving amazing results at bring about justice and change, would be the ones that would grace the covre of our national newspapers and the such.

Perhaps, then, Canadians should reflect that their meritocratic society isn’t quite as meritocratic as it should be, and they should strive to look for those amongst us who should have influence and to whom we should listen, rather than listening to those we are told to listen to (celebrity tabloid magazines, anyone?).

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5 thoughts on “The Merits of a Meritorious Meritocratic Society

  1. Hey Sahar,

    In my view, Canada is far from a “meritocracy”. I’ve been in the workforce for 10 years and can tell you that a lot of people get there jobs through nepotism, back-scratching, ass-kissing, family connections, etc.

    I don’t think we can ever have a meritocracy based on the current hierarchical business structures. A meritocracy can only exist in a truly collaborative environment where a culture of unity, learning and personal growth exists. If people are focused on themselves and moving up the corporate ladder they will do whatever they can to get to the top.

    Under a more collaborative environment where justice and consultation are watchwords, I would imagine that a true meritocracy could take form because people would be looking at other not as competition, but as part of a team whose qualities should be best utilized to advance the success of the team.

  2. RS: Thank you!

    Mister D: Perhaps Canada would like to blind itself to the reality ruling its workforce to not have to deal with overhauling it to the meritocracy it says it is, or wants to be?

    You have an excellent point about a meritocracy only being possible in a collaborative environment. I have the impression that while such an environment would have a certain hierarchy, it will truly come to reflect the views of everyone working in that environment. Interestingly enough, what would be meritorious in such an environment would therefore be reflecting the views of everyone within it, and thus would not have much to do with one person’s own opinions…

    Do you think we can build such an environment in all the spaces we occupy, be it social, work or family?

  3. Sahar,

    I don’t think its that Canada wants to blind itself. It’s more like we don’t know any better. We put in place a “meritocracy” wherein we say we hire people based on their qualifications which is true to a certain extent, but more often than not people are vetted through the HR process to be the right candidate based on their political, cultural or social outlook. Add to that the whole “ass-kissing” phenomenon and we are very far from a meritocracy.

    As for the meritocracy reflecting the views of those occupying a particular space. I agree that common objectives would define who is more meritorious in a particular environment (person A is a better salesman than person B), but to me it is even more fundamental than that. It’s about basing merit on qualities or attributes and assigning people to task for which these qualities and aptitudes are best utilized. In other words, you’d be fulfilling a particular role in your team or organization based on how best your qualities can be put to use.

    So everyone ends up being able to contribute their very best so as to assure the success of the whole.

    D-

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