Is Meritocracy Another Source of Inequality?

income inequality meritocracy political instability social cohesion


Income inequality is increasing in the United States and in some developed nations in Europe and this is a principal source of poorer people’s frustration with current politics, leading to rising anti-establishment sentiment among voters and destabilizing the center-right or center-left political elites that have been the mainstream in these nations’ administrations since the end of World War II. Social divisions result in costs to the economy, such as big public spending on compensation for the unsuccessful. Political instability resulting from social divisions would create even greater costs. Social cohesion would be the cheapest way to achieve a stable political economy and create happiness for all. So elites should care for non-elites and be more sensitive to their plight. This is not merely an ethical question but one of logic.