Meritocracy (merit, from Latin mereō, and -cracy, from Ancient Greek κράτος kratos "strength, power") is a political philosophy which holds that certain things, such as economic goods or power, should be vested in individuals on the basis of talent, effort and achievement.
Talent, effort, and achievement. Well, all right then. Let us imagine a talented thief who exerts the ultimate effort to rob all of the world's individuals of all their economic goods and succeeds in this astonishing achievement.
Talent .... effort ... achievement. The thief satisfies all criteria, and therefore merits all such goods.
Or, at least that is what the definition of meritocracy would have us believe.
Hence I ask my first question: is meritocracy inherently unethical?
In order to remedy above defect of the definition, one might impose the following condition as an addendum:
The allocations of economic goods must not conflict with moral standards, regardless of how talented somebody is, how much effort they exert, or how much they are able to achieve.
However, once ethics become involved in the acquisition of goods, another problem emerges, namely that if we are to accept moral standards, whatever those standards may be, then we must also accept a particular instance of those moral standards, namely the one that says that meritocracy is wrong and ought not to be the way in which we allocate goods.
But then, the definition of meritocracy contradicts itself.
Hence, I ask my second question: if meritocracy is not inherently unethical, does it then become inherently paradoxical?