by Adrian Wooldridge

Meritocracy: the idea that people should be advanced according to their talents rather than their birth. While this initially seemed like a novel concept, by the end of the twentieth century it had become the world’s ruling ideology. How did this happen, and why is meritocracy now under attack from both right and left?

In The Aristocracy of Talent, esteemed journalist and historian Adrian Wooldridge traces the history of meritocracy forged by the politicians and officials who introduced the revolutionary principle of open competition, the psychologists who devised methods for measuring natural mental abilities, and the educationalists who built ladders of educational opportunity. He looks outside western cultures and shows what transformative effects it has had everywhere it has been adopted, especially once women were brought into the meritocratic system.

Interview with the Author

Intelligence Squared
Is Meritocracy a Myth? With Adrian Wooldridge and Mark Mardell
6/15/21          41 min

History Extra
The merits of meritocracy
6/21/21           42 min

Keen On
Adrian Wooldridge on Why We Should Renew Meritocracy
7/10/21          45 min

The Good Fight
Saving Meritocracy
7/31/21          54 min

The Promise of Meritocracy  with Adrian Wooldridge
7/29/21          45 min

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