Meritocracy: A dream or realtiy?
The system of meritocracy depends on the elite at the moment to strongly follow the methods that were used to choose them. And this is one of _the_ most dfficult part of this form of government. In general, at one point of time or other, a person may wish his son/daughter to succeed him in the job that he is currently doing. Genetically, we can expect the child to emulate most of his/hers' parent, but it is not universally true. Also, the downfall of most of the other goverment's seems to be the effective turn towards nepotism.
The beauty of any system that must really be built on top of meritocracy must be its inherent affinity towards merit of the person. For ensuring this, the entry conditions has to be strictly followed, and the method ofchoosing any candidate must be both strict and accountable. In fact, the fear promulgating from accountability must form one of the basic protection for the system.
The selection board shall be highly methodical.
There is one small catch in a highly strict method of governing. Sometimes, some of the best governers were not actually identified as good enough for managing even themselves, but later turned out to be effective governers of vast kingdoms. So, the selection mechanism should ideally be able to incorporate these possibilities. What I feel is the best method is to actually test people based on the skill sets ideal for the job. Once they show that they have the requisite skill sets, make a pseudo appointment of the said people for the task, and evaluate them on the how they work and then only give the full responsibility to them. In fact, I would prefer that the selection process for the successor for any post should be an ongoing process. This is the only way the best available talent can be used for the correct job.
One of the main reasons why any person may think of nepotism is inherent insecurity that expresses itself in a ruling person. To overcome this, effective couner steps must be evolved so that there wont be a sense of insecurity inherently being developed in the governing people.