British lawyer, sociologist and reformer
WRITTEN BYThe Editors of Encyclopaedia BritannicaEncyclopaedia Britannica’s editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree….See Article HistoryAlternative Title: Michael Young
Michael Dunlop Young, Baron Young of Dartington, British lawyer, sociologist, and social reformer (born Aug. 9, 1915, Manchester, Eng.—died Jan. 14, 2002, London, Eng.), was best known for having written the Labour Party’s 1945 social-welfare manifesto and for having coined the pejorative term meritocracy (in his 1958 satire The Rise of the Meritocracy, 1870–2033) to denounce the political and economic elite that he alleged used their own academic test-based success as justification for their treatment of the economic underclass, who did not have access to equivalent education. Young also founded (1956) the Consumers’ Association, established the forerunner of the Open University (launched in 1964), and wrote influential sociological treatises, notably Family and Kinship in East London (1957; with Peter Willmott). He was created a baron in 1978.