Global Elite Notes

Topics: Sociology, Elite, Social class Pages: 10 (2930 words) Published: April 16, 2013
SOC 189 - #1 Exam

1. Is meritocracy fair? Discuss the pros and cons of our achievement-oriented society. Does it give rise to a meritorious elite? Why or why not? This country was founded on the principle that one’s status in society should be determined by your individual achievements, not by your conditions at birth. The idea is that we are all created equal, with equal opportunities, not results. The concept of meritocracy is essential to our ideas about American exceptionalism. A benefit of using meritocracy is that people are getting credit and success for their achievements – which is something everyone have control over and can do something about. This also creates motivation to work hard among the people. When the people are eager to improve them selves, it increases the level of intelligence in the society. This will result in good leaders, which will hopefully lead the society to success. According to this, meritocracy sounds like a good idea, but it does not always have a happy ending. Not everyone is up for hard work and competition, and the competition can easily depress some of us and make them give up in the society. The class stratification can get bigger with this kind of society, with the poor people at the bottom. It will create a winner – looser relationship between people, and many will not be happy. Many may say that it is fair because you get what you deserve, and what you have worked so hard for. But there are also many “corrupt deals” going on here. School test are supposed to be totally fair, when the smartest and those who score highest is getting in to the best schools. The problem is that the kids with richer families are being prepared for the test by expensive tutors, when kids with less money cannot afford it. Some tests even cost money, so not everyone is getting the chance. The people at the top have found ways to “cheat” their way up in the meritocracy society, where it is supposed to be the ones who deserves it, the best of us who gets the opportunities.

Now there is fewer and fewer skillsets that is seen as useful to the society, so fewer and fewer people gets credit and reward for your achievements

If you work hard, you achieve big. The concept is good, because it gives people a chance to make it in the world by your skills and achievement – things you have control over, instead of your ascribed factors that you were born into like race, gender, culture and family-class.

Meritocracy was coined by Michael Young, a british sociologist, political activist and social critic. He introduced the concept in 1958 in his book The rise of the Meritocracy.

The winners of this system believes it is fair!

* Ability is highly concentrated by the engine of education * Over time, schools have put their seal of approval on a narrower and narrower range of people – and in an earlier and earlier stage * The top people of the hierarchy believe that their advancement comes from their own merit, and that they deserve whatever they can get. * And those who fail, are relegated to the bottom of the social hierarchy in addition to being less advantaged, the poor now have to deal with the shame of lacking in merit. * People at the economic elite have found ways to cheat their way to the top, using their money to buy their children private tutors to success in schools approval-tests – still fair?

* Gives everyone essentially a fair chance
* Gives you credit for your skills and achievement, not by your ascribed factors. * Don’t judge your background
* It reward/punish you by something you can control

2. For each of the following five scholars, please describe their contribution to the study of elites:

* Laura Nader
There is now a lot of literature on the poor, the disadvantages, women, blacks and various racial/ethnic groups. There is very little literature of the top of the class people. Laura Nadel encouraged anthropologists to...
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