Michael Young, RIP.

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Jan. 15 2002 9:33 AM

Michael Young, RIP

The sociologist who coined the term "meritocracy"is dead at 86.

Michael Young, the British sociologist whose 1958 satire, The Rise of the Meritocracy, offered an astonishingly prescient critique of how the cult of IQ measurement would create a dangerously smug ruling class and a profoundly demoralized lower class, died last night at 86. Chatterbox had no idea he was ill last week when he wrote about Young's book and why its egalitarian critique of merit-based society deserved a wider readership. Click here to read why Tony Blair's use of the term "meritocracy," which Young coined, drove Young batty. Click here to read a tribute to Young by his son, journalist Toby Young. Click here to buy The Rise of the Meritocracy, and click here to buy a recently published Young biography by Asa Briggs.

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.