Genghis Khan (1162-1126)
If nothing else was used to manage the Khan army and kingdom, certainly meritocracy was it.
One moved up in the Genghis Khan army and society by performance.
And no matter where one worked. Khan was very much into putting people in places where they were best suited. From there they moved up based on merit.
Conquering more territory in just a few years than the Romans did in 400, and killing nearly half the earth's known population, Genghis Khan became the king of the mountain and stayed there. Along the way he was most interested in the best and brightest, no matter where they came from or their ability. Some of his most trusted generals were former enemies!
One story surrounding his belief in meritocracy happened after a horse was shot out from under him with an arrow. Khan was nearly killed. Later he questioned the prisoners asking who had shot his horse with an arrow. A man stood, and bravely proclaimed himself the shooter. So impressed with his bold demeanor, Genghis Khan immediately made him a commander, even nicknaming him "Jebe," which means arrow.
His reign had to do with invention in many forms - paper, printing, gunpowder and a postal communication system. This came from positioning people where they functioned best, allowing them to make things happen. He was remarkably generous, very tolerant of other religions, innovative in so many ways, and to this day survives as the model of, albeit ruthless, leadership. He has never been knocked off his perch.
This is a very free enterprise state of being!
Free enterprise allows all to function where they see themselves as best suited. Talent flows to where it can best bloom. Promotion happens based on performance, whether the promotion comes by oneself or through others. And the cream rises to the top.
The highest paid in any meritocracy, free enterprise essentially, is the hardest to replace. In the corporate world it is the leadership that is typically the highest paid. And leaders are the hardest to replace.
Name your corporation.
The same goes for sports. Who is the highest paid player on any team? Certainly it is the player who is the hardest to replace.
Name your sport.
It seems that every industry has its rich participants. They get there by providing a service and through self interest. They want to be seen as the individual, company or service provider who sets himself apart by performance, desirability, ability, and for sure reputation.
Name the company or service provider.
And no matter what or where the king of the mountain is, there are others looking up, plotting and planning, to take the king down. Take the king down and become ... the NEW king of the mountain!
Free enterprise makes way for meritocracy.
And meritocracy makes way for free enterprise.