The Rise of the Meritocracy, 1870-2033

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Young, Michael. The Rise of the Meritocracy, 1870-2033: The New Elite of Our Social Revolution. London: Thames and Hudson, 1958. NY: Random, 1959.

A fictional monograph supposedly by a sociologist of the 21st c. putting the British social disturbances of 2033 into the context of the rise of the meritocracy: the new hierarchical system in the UK in which membership in the ruling class is ultimately decided by intelligence (as measured—and, in theory, soon to be predicted—by psychologists). Posits a future world in which competition among nations requires England to become a techno-scientific culture of great efficiency.

See column by "Bagehot," The Economist, print edition, 10 Feb. 2018, on "The merits of revisiting Michael Young"; note well the illustration of a "MERITOCRACY" mechanism with a ladder and people-mover belt with small people entering the large machine, where they are sorted and put out on a stairway going upward for "WINNERS" and a drainpipe discarding to the work floor the "LOSERS."[1]

For an American take on parallel issues, see Kurt Vonnegut's first novel, Player Piano (1952).