Skyrocketing inequality sparked academic interest in power, as conventional terms, such as oligarchy and plutocracy were succeeded by a new concept, meritocracy. The Beltway is packed with long-term residents—advisers, functionaries, think tank experts and lobbyists,” recounted historian Daniel Immerwahr, a meritocracy orchestrating “backstage management.” Coined by Brit Michael Young in a 1958 satirical novel, “meritocracy” has come to be loosely defined as opportunity, and therewith upward mobility, predicated on higher education, or in the words of one skeptic, “the interlocking institutions that purport to select the brightest, most industrious, and most ambitious members of the society and cultivate them into leaders.” Meritocracy has transcended national borders, becoming a fixture in developed nations, as Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille observe, most contemporary democracies in Western Europe are governed by a select group of well-educated citizens.