1st Edition

Meritocracy, Populism, and the Future of Democracy

By David Stoesz Copyright 2022
    170 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    170 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores the fundamental shift that has occurred in America and Britain as elites accumulate unprecedented capital and influence and a meritocracy has emerged to manage national affairs, a change that means opportunity, affluence, and power have migrated away from most of the population.

    Arguing the following four points:

    • Geography accounts for the accumulating influence of metropolitan regions, at the expense of smaller cities and rural communities of the heartland.
    • Occupational groups, particularly lawyers, physicians, and financiers, have constructed professional cartels to secure rents at the expense of the prosperity of the public.
    • Think tanks and universities have become the necessary pathways to attain leadership in public affairs.
    • The internationalization of commerce has contributed to a parallel network of economic institutions and think tanks sharing ideas and personnel to lobby for policies favorable to their sponsors.

    Stoesz connects present and past to look at the progressive-era, the history of professions, and questions of welfare state reform, post-neoliberalism, and marketization. His book will be of great interest to students of sociology, political science, public administration, social policy, history, and economics. Scholars in think tanks and universities as well as political consultants will also find it invaluable.

    Chapter 1 Retro-Revolution

    Chapter 2 Meritocracy Ascendant

    Chapter 3 The Populist Revolt

    Chapter 4 The Repression of the Mediocracy

    Chapter 5 The Deep State

    Chapter 6 Hoax

    Chapter 7 Knowledge, Stratified

    Chapter 8 The Future of Democracy


    David Stoesz, Ph.D., has published widely in social policy, including Quixote’s Ghost: The Right, the Liberati, and the Future of Social Policy (2005), The Dynamic Welfare State (2014), The Investment State: Charting the Future of Social Policy (2017), Building Better Social Programs: How Evidence Is Transforming Public Policy (2020), and Welfare State 3.0: Social Policy After the Pandemic (2021). He was Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the UK in 2014 and Australia in 2017; in 2010 he was inducted into the National Academy of Social Insurance. He is the Founder and CEO of Up$tart: https://www.upstartbenefits.com.