Lets be clear from the start, Meritocracy is a political philosophy and Capitalism is an economic philosophy and that means they are not the same thing. That being said it does not hold that they do not come into conflict. The point I’m going to make here is that they do, sometime do come into conflict and this conflict happens just because they don’t care about the same thing. They have different goals.
The conflict I want to point out is that Meritocracy holds power should be vested in individuals according to merit and in the economic sphere wealth can be used to represent power. Unfortunately Capitalism isn’t the lest bit interested in where or how wealth is vested, only how it is increased, i.e. the rate of return. See the conflict? Meritocracy wants to use merit as the measure of where power is vested and Capitalism wants the only measure of merit to be the rate of return on investment. See the trap?
If you don’t, here is a little thought experiment for you.
You have $1,000,000 to invest and two people have approached you with an investment opportunity for you. The first person’s opportunity is to start manufacturing ZPM (a source of clean enegry) but the rate of return will take time, 5 to 10 years, to show up and will only be relatively modest 5% per anum. The second persons opportunity is in Organlegging out of the country of ‘PeopleIDontKnowistan’ where the organs of convicted criminals are sold for transplants (currently the 3rd speeding ticket is a capital office in PeopleIDontKnowistan) but the rate of return will start next quarter and run at 25% per anum.
See the problem?
According to Capitalism the more meritorious investment is the 2nd even though it’s business model is something many people find fundamentally abhorrent. Therefor you should invest in the 2nd opportunity even thought the first is more meritorious in more areas of human endeavor.
Now the point I’m trying to make is this, Capitalism want us to only use a one dimensional measure of merit where Meritocracy works best with a multidimensional measure or merit. So if we want to have a meritocratic society then we can not use just Capitalism’s measure of merit when judging the merits of business decisions.
Thank about it.