Examining Meritocracy & Elitism in Singapore Essay

5131 Words Jan 11th, 2015 21 Pages
I. INTRODUCTION Singapore has always taken pride in being a meritocracy and its embrace of meritocracy has been the cornerstone of the nation’s success story. Over the years, Singapore’s meritocracy has emphasised on “equality of opportunity” over “equality of outcomes”; shaping a relatively level playing field where the most capable and hardworking individuals regardless of ethnicity or social classes have an equal opportunity to rise to the top. While the State has always heralded the success of meritocracy, the systemic flaws and failures that were once side-lined in the public eye are becoming increasingly prevalent and visible today. This paper on “Examining Meritocracy and Elitism in Singapore” serves to …show more content…
According to John E Roemer, there are two prevailing conceptions of equality of opportunity today. The first argues for society to “level the playing field” so that the disadvantaged could compete on fair grounds with the rest.[5] The second is the non-discrimination principle where all individuals who have the required attributes relevant for a job should be judged on an equal footing along with the rest with respect to the relevant attributes.[6] These tenets of meritocracy representing social mobility and social justice thus frame meritocracy as an appealing proposition. While meritocracy has been celebrated as a social ideal in America and Singapore, the ultimate irony is that Young wrote the book to serve as a satirical warning against the ills associated with emergence of an exclusive social class – the elite.[7] According to Christopher Hayes, for meritocracy to truly measure up to its original ideals, it has to comply with two fundamental principles. The first is the ‘Principle of Difference’ whereby

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