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by John Spritzler

January 28, 2023

[Also see "Egalitarian Militias," which have a hierarchy]

There is a meritocratic aspect to an egalitarian society. For example, in an egalitarian society, passenger airplane pilots and surgeons and architects and so forth* would hold those positions only if they had demonstrated that they merited them, i.e., that they were truly sufficiently skilled and knowledgable and well-motivated to properly carry out the responsibilities of those positions and that they truly deserved the respect of those to whom they would give authoritative leadership. Nobody would hold such a position merely because they were of the "right" race or gender or ethnicity, etc.


Why? Because egalitarians (which is to say, most people), being (in the majority, at least) sensible and not crazy, would not want people to hold such positions unless they truly merited them. And yes, some people will and other people will not be talented or skilled or well-motivated enough to hold such positions. People are not all the same, and egalitarians know this.  Egalitarianism is NOT about making everybody be the same; I discuss this here.

At the same time, passenger airplane pilots and surgeons and architects and so forth would, like everybody else who contributed reasonably according to ability, have the right to take from the sharing economy what they need or reasonably desire or in the case of scarce things have equal status with the others when such things are rationed equitably according to need. In an egalitarian society there are no rich and no poor (and money is not used).

In an egalitarian society the motive for being an airplane pilot or surgeon or architect, etc., is not to become richer than other people (which is a major motive in our society of class inequality) but rather to be--for any of a number of positive pro-social reasons, of which there are many--an airplane pilot or surgeon or architect, etc.

An egalitarian society is ruled by local assemblies of egalitarians in which all egalitarians have an equal say; most people are egalitarians whether or not they merit being an airplane pilot or surgeon or architect. The Local Assembly of Egalitarians has the final say in its community (it is sovereign). People in particular social/economic groups democratically, as equals, may elect or appoint certain individuals to hold positions of leadership and, when appropriate, command (as in a militia) as long as this does not violate any law or policy established by the Local Assembly of Egalitarians.  Therefore an egalitarian society is not a meritocracy, i.e., it is not ruled by a small number of people who are supposedly of greater merit than others. But, as noted above, there is a meritocratic aspect in an egalitarian society, hence the use of the phrase "Partial meritocracy" in the title of this article.

The reason for writing this article about the partial meritocratic aspect of an egalitarian society is this. Pro-capitalists wrongly argue that capitalism--with a free market especially--is the only way to ensure that individual merit, rather than something else such as one's race or gender or ethnicity, determines who occupies positions such as that of an airline pilot or surgeon or architect and so forth*.


These pro-capitalists argue that anti-capitalists want positions to be filled on the basis not of merit but rather on the basis of things such as race or gender or ethnicity, etc. The persuasiveness of this wrong pro-capitalist argument relies on the fact that virtually the only anti-capitalists that anybody hears about today (in the mass or so-called alternative media) indeed really are what the pro-capitalists say they are: opposed to using individual merit as a criterion and advocates of, instead, using race or gender or ethnicity, etc., as I discuss here. But the pro-capitalist argument fails as soon as one realizes that the REAL alternative to capitalism--egalitarianism--has a perfectly sensible meritocratic aspect.


* "And so forth" here includes all of the many different positions in society that call for the use of special skill and knowledge and positive (pro-social) motivation and that typically entail giving leadership to others the way a surgeon leads the other medical staff during an operation, or the way the senior passenger airplane pilot commands the other crew members and makes key decisions when the safety of the plane's passengers is at stake, or the way a person in an economic enterprise who is democratically selected to make certain kinds of important decisions does so.

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