The Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), in your dictionary, defines the meritocracy as the form of government that allocates positions according to individual merits. In a broader sense, meritocracy is called discrimination based on the merits of each person.

Stimulates individual effort

Meritocracy assumes that senior positions can or authority are distributed according to virtues waves personal qualities, associating these values ​​to the ability of the subject to prevail or excel in a competition against the rest. The meritocratic system, in this way, reserves its hierarchical positions to those who stand out individually.

Chinese meritocracy

The ancient Chinese imperial examination system laid the foundations for meritocracy

It is interesting to note that meritocracy has defenders and detractors. For those who promote it, meritocracy is more efficient and fair What others Models because it stimulates individual effort and does not make distinctions by race, sex or social class.

Those who oppose meritocracy, on the other hand, warn that this system justifies the economic and social inequalities from the supposed merits, without considering the enormous differences that exist in the starting point and in the context of each subject.

Relationship with social Darwinism

In this way, there are those who associate meritocracy with social darwinism. A meritocratic society fosters a wild competition between citizens who they are not equal terms. Parameters that are theoretically neutral actually mask existing social privileges, which are often inherited.

In other words, effort and talent can be insufficient to progress. On the other hand, many people achieve success without trying or being talented; that is, without merits.

In China and France

In China, between the 7th and 20th centuries, there was a imperial examination system that served to recruit the bureaucrats known as mandarins. The preparation that the students had to go through consisted of studying the classic works, among which those of Confucius stood out, the well-known thinker to whom the doctrine called confucianism. Confucius attached great importance to rites and education to train good people who could serve the State.

In the Hanlin Academy, an institution founded by Emperor Xuanzong in the 8th century, the method used could be considered typical of the meritocracy. In short, it was selected a group of talented people leaving his origin in second place and focusing on his work. It was a system that was in force from the 14th century until 1905, when it was abolished; its purpose was to oppose the aristocracy. There are scholars who find a direct influence of this method on psychology-based procedures for selecting and evaluating officials from England and other European countries.

Meritocracy France

Jesuits brought meritocracy from China to France

Indeed, one of the countries in which this inspiration can be appreciated is France, where a system based on public servants is applied to recruit public servants. competence. This is also so in the Great school, name by which certain public and private institutions are known that are dedicated to high-level higher education and select their students through a strict competition. The arrival of these ideas on French soil took place through the Jesuits.

Between 1704 and 1711, the renowned philosopher, historian, lawyer and writer Voltaire he studied with the Jesuits at the high school Louis-le-Grand. In 1770, he praised the Chinese government for only giving power to the most capable, to people who had surpassed exams of great difficulty. He also said that it was a country where merit and virtue they were set as the main objectives to be achieved, and where social origins were not a barrier to go far.