It is hard you will agree, to know your place in Britain’s meritocracy… But perhaps the fundamental reason behind the difficulty we face, finding our relevant perch in our social tree, has been politics? Successive governments in the UK (and elsewhere), mostly but not exclusively on the left of the political divide, have failed to alleviate our social quandary. In many respects I believe that politics have actually compounded the issue.
Governments continually push policies that supposedly support that utopian ideal of social equality. In reality this constant craving for a social Nirvana or political Shangri-La is a quest that is terminally flawed. But it’s not just a social pipe-dream, it’s also usually a politically correct lie. An ideology which is sold to us by mostly self-serving and self-promotional politicians, constantly seeking popularity and our approval. These mythical places we crave are just that, a myth. We can express our hope for the idyllic state of affairs they describe however, in real terms it’s Paradise Lost.
Politicians are mostly successful in their sales patter because of our inherent socio-historical stupidity, that and a good measure of personal greed and/or jealousy. The very same factors that propel us headlong into our never-ending search for a different perch in that social tree, preferably a higher one. We sign up to the ideal that best fits our own individual aspirations and goals. Whichever extremity of the political spectrum we trudge blindly toward is mostly superfluous, as first communism and more recently capitalism is finally beginning to prove.
A Point of View: The revolution of capitalism – Marx was wrong about communism. Where he was prophetically right was in his grasp of the revolution of capitalism. It’s not just capitalism’s endemic instability that he understood, though in this regard he was far more perceptive than most economists in his day and ours…(bbc.co.uk)
More recently than Karl Marx, back in 1911 the German sociologist Robert Michels suggested that any political system eventually evolves into an oligarchy, he called this the iron law of oligarchy. According to this school of thought, most modern democracies should be considered as oligarchies as actual differences between viable political rivals are small, the oligarchic elite impose strict limits on what constitutes an acceptable and respectable political position, and politicians’ careers depend heavily on unelected economic and media elites. Thus the popular phrase: there is only one political party, the incumbent party. So if the extremes of political ideal have failed us, isn’t there a better way? What about a more meritocratic system, like the one we (supposedly) have now?
Meritocracy: in the first, most administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration (such as business administration) wherein appointments are made and responsibilities are assigned to individuals based upon their “merits”, namely intelligence, credentials, and education, determined through evaluations or examinations…(wikipedia.org)
Meritocracy, at face value, would appear to be a far better ideal than either communism or capitalism to me however, even this ideology fails us, so why is that? Once again we return to the modern-day human element of materialism driven by greed. That and suspect levels of ‘examination’ and ‘evaluation’ to determine actual ‘merit’, along with increasing examples of nepotism in the political and business world.
Until the day arrives that the majority are prepared to put others before themself, it’s highly unlikely we will ever see the results and change we actually need…If proper status you would win be sure to hang your curtains with the right side in. No one’s below you, fancy that now your only consolation is to kick the cat!
♪♫ There’s only one way of life…And that’s your own! ♫♪ How will you live yours?