An Argumentative Essay- Social and Meritocracy, rise of the capitalist front in the form of factory owners

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An Argumentative Essay

Social and Meritocracy


Whether we live in a class divided society or meritocratic society is a topic which is highly debated. Current society is divided by classes since the Industrial Revolution. The rise of the capitalist front in the form of factory owners had divided the society into capitalists and labours (Kim & Choi, 2017).  Hence, the notion that society runs on a class-based system cannot be ignored at any cost. The thesis statement of the essay is that ‘We live in a class-based society and not meritocracy’. In order to ensure a clear understanding of class-based society, a contextual study would be conducted in the next section. It will be followed by an argument which would support the thesis statement. Opposing argument analysis will be conducted later followed by critical analysis. A conclusion would sum up all the ideas which would provide a clear understanding of overall analysis.  

Historical context

Any society which possesses complex labour division would create a hierarchy of power. We live in a society where task specialists or skilled labours are the employees and runs specialised fields like a bank, farming, factories etc. The class division divides social strata based on their skill. For example, college professors are way ahead of the high school teachers. The high school teachers have evidently ranked ahead of primary school teachers (Brown, 2013). In this context, only class division based on labour and work is considered for the purpose. The stratification has been derived from the mode of production which had evidently begun during the Industrial Revolution. The factories became the source of income and people with the capacity to invest had poured money in building factories. The factories became the centre of production. Other people of the society who did not have the power to invest became waged labours. It was the first emergence of class stratification which was defined by employment and capital (Panayotakis, 2014). Hence understanding social stratification from the view of labour, employment and position of work is easy to identify and understand. The changes in capital and power which had occurred in the Industrial Revolution during the 1700s had defined a class-based approach to society and it was evidently observed. 

Meritocracy reflects on Formal Equality of Opportunity which is based on arbitrary discrimination. It promises life to be based on individual talents, abilities and effort of the individual. In the Meritocratic system, the people are known to make progress in life based on their talent, efficiency and abilities (Lampert, 2012). The concept of Meritocracy resounds Aristotle’s word ‘ethos’ which denoted that position would be awarded to the most efficient individual who would have been part of political discussion. However, in reality, it is far from being true. USA society has utilized the idea of merit-based concept but the governance system and business have forced created disparity. The people with ample wealth would receive enormous opportunities which would help them to become more efficient. Hence, Meritocracy is a concept in the current societal scenario which is mostly driven by wealth and distinction. 

Supporting arguments

Recently in USA college admission scandal have surfaced which framed many parents who had paid a company a good amount of money to get the children in top universities. It is a fact that the rich and resourceful individual who go any length get their children in the best possible places (Kim & Choi, 2017). The scam was well orchestrated where forged pictures, cooked up learning disabilities had been utilised frame the special need for the son or daughter. 

Capitalists are the ones who are ruling the market as well as the societal system. The individual who can pay a good donation for improvement of the school who surely get a good chance to enrol daughter or son to any well-known alumni. Reports from the admission officer reflected that box of rejected admissions were returned for special reconsiderations. Inequality has its root in deeper areas (Mijs, 2016). It is not only donations which help the children to move ahead, but they have also been identified to have spent entire life gaining an advantage over their counterparts who did not have the financial strength. The resources are unequally distributed which is guided by social stratification. A comparison of the learning environment of Detroit’s public schools and Private elementary school have been conducted. It has been observed that there is an ample difference in terms of infrastructure and resources which helps the students to study (Meroe, 2014). Therefore, the class division within the society is evident where the rich people have all the resources and people from lower strata receives limited resources. Equal opportunity in the current society is a myth which would need re-formation of the society entirely. The wealth inequalities would become a root cause of differentiation which would forbid the children to develop their talents with good opportunities. Meritocracy is a terminology which is utopian in nature and is only present as a consolation. It entirely helps the elite to maintain their position in life and make them feel as deserving individuals. Whether it is basic school, college or parks and facilities in life. In fact, in terms of healthcare facilities, the rich people are the privileged who receives all the facilities in terms of healthcare. 

Opposing arguments

According to Khen Lampart, a kinship has been established between merit-based scholarship, education and social Darwinism. Those individuals who are given the opportunities at birth survive nature very quickly (Littler, 2013). Meritocracy is a noble system which can instil equality in society. Though Meritocracy is not instilled in the system its quality cannot be questioned. 

In terms of organisational scenarios, when a company relies on a merit-based approach it helps them to overlook any operation of biases. The importance of the meritocracy is being understood across the system when it comes to surviving a situation or gaining a competitive advantage (Panayotakis, 2014). American society is utilising the Schools to create learning of meritocracy where all the children are given equal opportunities in the publicly funded school system. Education has been the first approach where the meritocracy has been injected and education for all has removed the social biases based on financial resources or strata.  

The US have understood the lack of merit or excellence in their school system. The students have significantly failed to produce a good result in international tests like PISA. Hence, the new education policies have been focused on attracting graduates in teaching business (Brown, 2013). The point of stating the matter is that the situation is turning where lack of merit is hampering a long term scenario of national growth. In a meritocratic situation, the talent pool is attracted and untalented are repelled. The core agenda of survival is highly based on talent alone. 

Throwing in money does not ensure long time success. Effective policy combines investment of time and constructive agenda to resolve the issue and attract the new talent. However, the scope can be driven with the help of prize in terms of promotion or other compensation for talents. Hence, though meritocracy does not directly apply to real life society its abilities and effectiveness cannot be ignored. (Kim & Choi, 2017) Therefore, meritocracy is brought within the system whenever the need arises. In fact, the current competitive market has an open space for merits and the companies are resorting to hiring diverse manpower which helped them to acquire a competitive advantage. The role of meritocracy cannot be ignored altogether. 

Critical Analysis

Aristotle’s case of ‘ethos’ or handing the power to the deserved individual is a mere concept in current sociological concept. The reason behind is that social division based on class has been active since the feudal age. The rulers, clergies, merchants, skilled experts and peasants formed the social structure (Mijs, 2016). The core of power was the land which was the mark of wealth or ‘capital’. During the 1700s the industrial revolution changed the definition of ‘capital’ or ‘wealth’. The factory owners became the power holders and rest of the society was converted to waged labours. Though the social structure was reformed, the class division based on wealth remained constant. The only changes identified were the names or the designations of each class. For example, the skilled artisans and the peasants were brought under the umbrella of waged labour. 

The society currently is driven by the division which was based on financial supremacy. The better financial power the better facilities an individual is able to afford. It has driven a disparity in the market due to the unequal distribution of wealth and financial sources (Brown, 2013). Though meritocracy is important it is a concept which is utilised in terms of crisis. But it is not applicable to all the people living in society.

The power which comes with wealth or money has bridged a gap in the society and in most situations elitists or the people who have the capacity to spend have driven success through opportunities (Mijs, 2016). It is evident that a student from an elementary school would not be able to compete with private schools in comparison. The later offers ample resources, new methods of study and implications which would help an individual to become efficient and successful. In comparison, an individual from government-run school can afford mediocre opportunities. The difference in attitude can be observed under any circumstances. Hence, our society is indistinctly driven by wealth focused on a few percentages of the population (Lampert, 2012).  There is a lack of equality where all the people in society can gain access to resources and opportunities. It is proven that ‘we live a society which is driven by classes. 


Society had divided itself when power became limited in the hands of a few individuals. During the early age when society was just under construction, the power of decision vested upon the ruler of the clan (Panayotakis, 2014). People grew their own needs and shared with each other in time of need. The leader was the decision maker in time of need or any social gathering. But the definition of power was converted to land and later to factories which could produce wealth, the very stratification changed. 

Wealth is limited to the hand of people who form the elite class in society. Rest of the strata has to come up with limited resources which might not suffice their needs in all cases. Meritocracy is present as a concept which could have driven society. But wealth has a tangible value to generate more and more merits (Brown, 2013). Hence, meritocracy just became a mere concept. Therefore, it is needless to say that we live in a society which is driven by class rather than driven by merits. Merit nowadays is in the hands of people with power or wealth. Hence, it is used in a controlled manner and very emergence of merit is based on resources which are again driven by elitists. 

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