David Guilbaud

The Meritocratic Illusion Publication date : October 3, 2018

David Guilbaud, a graduate from the “promotion George Orwell (2015-2016)” of the École nationale d’administration, is a judge at the Cour des comptes.
Everyone can sense on a daily basis how our society and its schools remain inegalitarian, and how family and social origins continue to weigh on one’s social destiny. This feeling is widely corroborated by the PISA study, which shows the degree to which the French educational system remains inegalitarian. And yet, its defenders quickly employ the term “meritocracy” to describe a system which, every day, is clearly meritocratic in name only.
It is this discordance between the terms and reality, as well as the interests that benefit from this meritocratic illusion, that this book examines. Why don’t the “meritocratic” mechanisms succeed in making the inegalitarian functioning of our educational system evolve? Why does this meritocratic myth persist? Why is it defended so passionately, not only by those who are winning from the “meritocratic” game, but also by a number of the “losers” that it has left behind? In short, what and whom does the meritocratic [text has ‘democratique,’ but I think that’s a typo?] illusion?
In firm and clear language, David Guilbaud calls upon his own experiences to shed light on his analysis, and to support his convictions. Ultimately, this work aims to be a guide for intellectual self-defense to be used by those who believe they do not belong to the small number of “the elect.”