Both generations of meritocracy are tied to good things: hard work, high standards, social mobility.
As for social mobility, Tocqueville wrote at a time when American industry was in its infancy.
But as a model of economic fairness, or of the role of universities in social mobility, it is unsatisfying.
Given our growing social calcification, the need to boost growth and social mobility is great.
social mobility was most possible in the towns, where distinctions were usually only of wealth.
the ability of individuals or groups to move within a social hierarchy with changes in income, education, occupation, etc.
The ability of individuals or groups to move upward or downward in status based on wealth, occupation, education, or some other social variable.
Note: American society operates on the principle that an individual's achievements can be rewarded by upward social mobility.