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Is a social system in which merit or talent is the basis for sorting people into positions and distributing rewards, such that the positions of highest authority are occupied by those of greatest merit. Functional sociologists argue that meritocracy directs the most talented people into the most functionally important positions and thereby enhances a society's survival and efficiency. The idea of meritocracy enters into ethical discussion whether social systems can be evaluated for the extent to which they live up to meritocratic promises or the moral basis of meritocracy as a distributive system can be assessed.

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