Meritocracies

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Testyal
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Meritocracies

Post by Testyal » 05 Nov 2012 20:42

I must admit, I only thought about this while I was in the shower, but it piqued my curiosity. Specifically, I thought about a meritocratic system in use in Jain. What I was thinking of was a system with 100 councillors, 10 for each of the 9 sections (yet to be thought of, but something like culture, economy etc.), 9 for the executuves of those sections and the final place for the chief of the council. At the end of a government, every councillor selects his successor from a previously shortlisted group. The councillors are recommended to select the candidate with the best skills for the job, e.g. a candidate applying for a position in the economy sector might have a Masters in mathematics. The new government then begins for how many years.

Now I've rambled on about my ideas, do any of you have any meritocracies?
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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Ànradh » 06 Nov 2012 00:22

Does becoming the warband leader via trial by combat count? :P
Sin ar Pàrras agus nì sinne mar a thogras sinn. Choisinn sinn e agus ’s urrainn dhuinn ga loisgeadh.

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by cybrxkhan » 06 Nov 2012 02:45

The Aidisese imperial bureaucracy basically has a meritocratic system that's more or less similar to that of the imperial Chinese one - imperial examination system that determines people's knowledge.

However, in Aidis, the imperial examination system is, particularly in the more modern eras, closely tied in with the education system. That is, except for what we would consider graduate-level, academic-level education, the imperial examination was the be-all end-all of a general education. You didn't go to school to graduate with a diploma - you went to school to prepare yourself for the exam. However, the exam in theory could be taken again and again, even after you left school you could still take it.

Your results from the exam were thus a way for both private and public sector employers to gauge your abilities. In the imperial government, particularly, even for the wealthy, "noble" families, ensuring a good score was a matter of honor - though one's child could still get a decent government job through bribery and connections if they did poorly on the exam, it was a matter of great shame if that child did not do it without getting at a minimum adequate marks (that's not to say you couldn't... um... do things to make the exam scorers fudge the scores, although there were institutions set in place to prevent this as the empire modernized).
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Re: Meritocracies

Post by MIGUELbM » 06 Nov 2012 12:35

Well, this reminds me I have to make a final map with all nations, cities, towns and tribes. I'm sure there is more than one tribe that uses meritocracy as a system, specially for warlords
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Testyal
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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Testyal » 06 Nov 2012 12:38

Lodhas wrote:Does becoming the warband leader via trial by combat count? :P
I suppose that would count. Strength is a merit.
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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Torco » 06 Nov 2012 14:03

Well, that's the issue here: anything that grants advancement in a certain institution is a merit, so anything's a meritocracy. Meritocracy, however, is generally used to describe institutions where advancement is individual and related to some sort of skill relevant to the immediate job. In that way, sure, a warlord gets to be a warlord because he's skilled at getting to be a warlord, but for the most part his underlings get to their places because the warlord trusts them, rather than because they're really skilled. there's huge social pressures towards non-meritocracy, unintuitively: after all, what good is a really great general if you're not sure if he's gonna order his troops to slit your throat, right?

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Ànradh » 06 Nov 2012 14:12

I feel the need to mention that I wasn't being entirely serious. :P

There really isn't anything in my conworld that qualifies as a real meritocracy, but there are a number of 'institutions' (there isn't really enough organisation to justify this word, to be honest) where skill is valued highly enough that it can grant one a measure of authority.
Magicians (scryers and healers more than others), craftsmen, hunters etc.
Sin ar Pàrras agus nì sinne mar a thogras sinn. Choisinn sinn e agus ’s urrainn dhuinn ga loisgeadh.

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Torco » 06 Nov 2012 15:14

I know, but jokes make valid points too.
as for institution... don't worry, you can use the word in the sociological sense: we just need people do consistently do shit to call that shit an institution. like family is an institution, friday night beer is an institution, language is an institution, the zbb is an institution, 9gag is an institution. that kinda thing

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by eldin raigmore » 08 Nov 2012 23:32

Like Torco says, "anything's a meritocracy" on Adpihi among the Adpihi.
But really there's only one thing that's notably more of a meritocracy than in almost all other cultures; and it's very coarse-grained.
That is, the division between Liars and ordinary people.
Liars "earn" their rank (it's an undesirable rank, and comes with disabilities, so "earn" may not be the right word).
It won't come as a surprise to you to find out they earn it by lying.

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Jarhead » 09 Nov 2012 19:16

I wish to quote the Empire in Rome, where for a long time the power was passed on from father to adoptive son; the emperors used to choose a "son" they deemed adequate to be an emperor, basically deciding who was going to be the next in power.
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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Orion113 » 27 Dec 2012 07:21

One of my races is meritocratic. They are warlike, appropriately enough, and their leader is called the warchief, having earned that title in combat, either with the previous warchief, or from a great number of competitors upon the death of the previous chief. Not a terribly original system, but hey, sometimes you go with the conventional. [:)]

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Torco » 27 Dec 2012 14:02

what? 'races' aren't meritocratic, cultures are!
and there's almost never a perfect correspondence between race and culture, or between race, culture and character... except within the racist worldview. I don't mean to be mean, but the race thing in fantasy sometimes creeps me out.

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by CrazyEttin » 27 Dec 2012 16:17

Torco wrote:what? 'races' aren't meritocratic, cultures are!
and there's almost never a perfect correspondence between race and culture, or between race, culture and character... except within the racist worldview. I don't mean to be mean, but the race thing in fantasy sometimes creeps me out.
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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Lambuzhao » 29 Dec 2012 21:51

When I hear meritocracy, I often think of that fictional polis described by Socrates in Plato's Republic. That cronyism, nepotism, and elitism are eroded, I think that's good about meritocracy.

But, being hamstrung by your own personal "weakest links" - not so good. Perhaps its better to be your own worst enemy, rather than one or more external forces, though.

But, what if one lives in a society/culture where competition is not a driving force. What if one becomes good at what one does, rather than "better than the rest"? Sounds like Marx is creeping in.

Torco wrote: a warlord gets to be a warlord because he's skilled at getting to be a warlord, but for the most part his underlings get to their places because the warlord trusts them, rather than because they're really skilled.
Hmmm... that becomes the secret 21st question on the 20-question Civil Service Exam, which is written in invisible ink, for which you need the secret decorder ring, and need to know the secret handshake.

Has meritocracy thus derailed?

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Curlyjimsam » 31 Dec 2012 22:36

The Viksen system, spread widely to other parts of the planet, is broadly meritocratic, in that those eligible for public office (from the level of a local mayor and upward) must have qualified at one of the political colleges. A degree at one of these colleges is roughly equivalent to a master's degree.
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Re: Meritocracies

Post by eldin raigmore » 01 Jan 2013 21:34

Curlyjimsam wrote:The Viksen system, spread widely to other parts of the planet, is broadly meritocratic, in that those eligible for public office (from the level of a local mayor and upward) must have qualified at one of the political colleges. A degree at one of these colleges is roughly equivalent to a master's degree.
This is a "meritocracy" only if "qualifying at" one of those colleges is meritocratic, that is, not corrupt. I seriously doubt that they will stay non-corrupt for very many generations; not more than six generations, for instance.

In America, even dropping out of an Ivy League college entitles you to more privileges than actually graduating from any other college; and getting in to an Ivy League college depends more on how much money your family donates than on how well you did in high school.
So America isn't meritocratic, at least not in fields where you need an Ivy League qualification, such as clerking for the Supreme Court, or getting into a Wall Street financial institution.

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by Orion113 » 02 Jan 2013 08:43

Torco wrote:what? 'races' aren't meritocratic, cultures are!
and there's almost never a perfect correspondence between race and culture, or between race, culture and character... except within the racist worldview. I don't mean to be mean, but the race thing in fantasy sometimes creeps me out.
Well, I'm sorry it disturbs you, but it is a fairly standard element of many science fiction and fantasy settings. [:S]

Regardless, in my setting in particular, race and culture do correspond, partly due to strong nationalism, and partly because all the races are the same species, wherein the differences between races arose after the differences between cultures.

And this is not because I'm racist, though I'm certain you weren't implying that. [;)] Actually, part of the literary purpose for the cut-and-dried division is to provide a background on which issues of racism and stereotypes can be explored.

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by eldin raigmore » 02 Jan 2013 23:14

Curlyjimsam wrote:The Viksen system, spread widely to other parts of the planet, is broadly meritocratic, in that those eligible for public office (from the level of a local mayor and upward) must have qualified at one of the political colleges. A degree at one of these colleges is roughly equivalent to a master's degree.
This reminds me of the Mandarin system of examination in the Classics. Qualification to hold any office at all depended on mastering the Classics; most of which had nothing to do with most of the offices. How that was "meritocratic" I don't know; I think it's no more "meritocratic" than a plutocracy would be (where the person who has earned (merited) the most money wins the office).

There's a theory that the bad rep "Asian drivers" have had among certain politically incorrect or insensitive USAmericans, is actually due to some (not all) Chinese (not all Asian) drivers not understanding that the answers to the questions on the written part of their drivers'-license tests, actually are intended to have something to do with the way they're supposed to drive in real life: and that this is a holdover from the Mandarin examination system, where, to do something, you had to pass an exam in subjects having nothing to do with what you wanted to be allowed to do.

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Re: Meritocracies

Post by zelos » 10 Jan 2013 20:56

My main species have a meritocratic government.
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