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    I got this idea from the western civilisation thread.

    Personally i'm veering towards a no here, but i can see how positive arguments may be developed and i'd like to hear what everone thinks.

    here are some questions to get you started:

    1) To what extent would you say Britain is a meritocracy?
    2) Would it even be desirable to HAVE a meritocracy in your view?
    3) How does Britain compare with other countries/ empires past and present?
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    (Original post by ayaan)
    I got this idea from the western civilisation thread.

    Personally i'm veering towards a no here, but i can see how positive arguments may be developed and i'd like to hear what everone thinks.

    here are some questions to get you started:

    1) To what extent would you say Britain is a meritocracy?
    2) Would it even be desirable to HAVE a meritocracy in your view?
    3) How does Britain compare with other countries/ empires past and present?
    I'd say that Britain is probably as meritocratic as anywhere else. Nobody is held back from achieving and our megastate ensures that everyone gets a half decent crack of the whip.

    Now, I'd like that crack to be far louder but not to the extent of "achieving" a true meritocracy. A true and absolute meritocracy must surely insist upon equal advantage for everyone which of course would lead us towards some form of communism.

    So, absolute meritocracy isn't really possible or IMO desirable.
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    I think a meritocracy is both desirable and possible. This government, and to some extent the previous one, have made lots of advances to ensure everyone has access to success, as long as they work hard. For example encouraging Oxbridge to accept a decent proportion of state-schooled students. As well as all the racial/disability discrimination legislation, which I definitely support but a number of people find counter-productive. A gradual end to school selection at age 11 is also a key part of the meritocratic vision. The free provision of the NHS assures that people are held back as little as possible by ill health, and that no one is denied essential treatment on the basis of ability to pay.

    In these respects Britain is certainly far more meritocratic than the USA, not so sure about how other European countries compare, though.
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    Britain is not a meritocracy as long as it has an aristocracy.

    Now the US is a meritocracy - people can be as successful as they wish if they have the will - or so Americans tell me!
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    In what way do the Windsors hinder your chances at being succesful?

    Unless you really want to wear a nice shiny crown of course...
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    (Original post by Howard)
    I'd say that Britain is probably as meritocratic as anywhere else. Nobody is held back from achieving and our megastate ensures that everyone gets a half decent crack of the whip.
    Do you believe that there is more of a social stigma to having great ambition in Britain, particularly in the economic sense, than elsewhere? If so, would such subtle disdain undermine, at least to a slight degree, the notion of being meritocratic?
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    (Original post by thebucketwoman)
    In what way do the Windsors hinder your chances at being succesful?

    Unless you really want to wear a nice shiny crown of course...
    Precisely! I wouldn't mind but the Crown Jewels belong to us so why can't we have a go at wearing them on a rota basis?

    Seriously though, the aristocracy, because of the wealth they inherit will always have the upper hand and prevent the rest from having what they have.
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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    Do you believe that there is more of a social stigma to having great ambition in Britain, particularly in the economic sense, than elsewhere? If so, would such subtle disdain undermine, at least to a slight degree, the notion of being meritocratic?
    Well I think there is a justified stigma attached to socially-irresponsible enterprise, whose single goal is to make money without benefiting society in any way.
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    (Original post by yawn)
    Seriously though, the aristocracy, because of the wealth they inherit will always have the upper hand and prevent the rest from having what they have.
    But members of the aristocracy come way down the rich list, compared to those who have made their wealth through business. So others have got far more than they have, and I don't see what harm having one moderately wealthy family does to the rest of us.
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    (Original post by thebucketwoman)
    But members of the aristocracy come way down the rich list, compared to those who have made their wealth through business. So others have got far more than they have, and I don't see what harm having one moderately wealthy family does to the rest of us.
    Which moderately wealthy family are you referring to?
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    The Royal family.
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    (Original post by thebucketwoman)
    Well I think there is a justified stigma attached to socially-irresponsible enterprise, whose single goal is to make money without benefiting society in any way.
    The two do not necessarily go hand in hand. One could decide to create a unique and socially beneficial product, but may still be looked down upon, if the reason for inventing said product is to make a load of money.
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    (Original post by thebucketwoman)
    The Royal family.
    OK - first, I would not describe them as been 'moderately' wealthy and secondly I was not limiting the 'artistocracy' to the Queen and her family, but rather all those who enjoy wealth, property etc. because of the indulgence of royalty over the centuries.

    I stayed at a manor house a couple of weeks ago - it still belongs to an aristocratic family. It was sumptuous to say the least. Whilst there I pondered on the fact that I, regardless of how hard I worked or how much I earned, would never be able be able to buy this manor.

    So, summing up - no matter how meritous a society, one that has the vestiges of a 'ruling' class can never be truly meritocratic - imo.
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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    The two do not necessarily go hand in hand. One could decide to create a unique and socially beneficial product, but may still be looked down upon, if the reason for inventing said product is to make a load of money.
    I don't think people in the UK have a problem with that. Take Richard Branson for example, he is stinking rich, but he's seen to run a company which sells good value products, he treats his staff well, and he also gives loads to charity. Most people have a vague fondness for Branson, well I do anyway!
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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    Do you believe that there is more of a social stigma to having great ambition in Britain, particularly in the economic sense, than elsewhere? If so, would such subtle disdain undermine, at least to a slight degree, the notion of being meritocratic?
    I definitely believe that to be true in respect to America. I think the stats are that a CEO in Britain, and most of western Europe only has an annual income between 5-10x that of the average employee of said company but in america it's 100's of times greater. Don't quote me on that though. Do people think this has to do with the idea of 'the American dream' ie. americans don't mind people earning obscene amounts of money because one day they could make it? whereas i believe British people tend towards being more suspicious of people who earn far more money than them.
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    (Original post by psychic_satori)
    Do you believe that there is more of a social stigma to having great ambition in Britain, particularly in the economic sense, than elsewhere? If so, would such subtle disdain undermine, at least to a slight degree, the notion of being meritocratic?
    Ambition IMO is a big taboo in Britain. It's a far different place from the US.
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    (Original post by yawn)
    Britain is not a meritocracy as long as it has an aristocracy.

    Now the US is a meritocracy - people can be as successful as they wish if they have the will - or so Americans tell me!
    So, the reason I was so hoplessly unsuccessful in the UK was because I lived close to the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire's estate. All the loud bangs from shotguns during pheasant season must somehow have distracted me from any ambition I may have had. Ahhh.....it's all so apparent now......
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    (Original post by yawn)
    I stayed at a manor house a couple of weeks ago - it still belongs to an aristocratic family. It was sumptuous to say the least. Whilst there I pondered on the fact that I, regardless of how hard I worked or how much I earned, would never be able be able to buy this manor.
    Really? There are lots of non aristocrats that could buy than manor a hundred times over. Why not look to the example these people set rather than moan about not being able to afford it?
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    (Original post by Howard)
    Ambition IMO is a big taboo in Britain. It's a far different place from the US.
    Ambition isn't a taboo in Britain. It depends what your ambition is. There is a large culture of ambition in the USA that aspires to no more than money and power, with no social conscience. Take for example the Bush administration's position on the Kyoto agreement. It conflicts with a pure ambition for money and therefore isn't worth ratifying.

    I think that fact the Britain seems to have a greater social conscience, and frowns upon ambitions based simply on money and power, is to be praised.
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    (Original post by thebucketwoman)
    Ambition isn't a taboo in Britain. It depends what your ambition is. There is a large culture of ambition in the USA that aspires to no more than money and power, with no social conscience. Take for example the Bush administration's position on the Kyoto agreement. It conflicts with a pure ambition for money and therefore isn't worth ratifying.

    I think that fact the Britain seems to have a greater social conscience, and frowns upon ambitions based simply on money and power, is to be praised.
    But don't you think Brits have a propensity towards wallowing in failure? They love it! There's nothing that angers the average Brit more than when his neighbor becomes wealthy and nothing that pleases him more than when his neighbor makes a bad move and loses that wealth.
 
 
 
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