Contribution Christoph Lüthy to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Christoph Lüthy, professor at our faculty, has written a contribution to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung of 20 January

The term "meritocracy" was coined in 1958 by the Labour sociologist Michael Young, who used it to refer to a society that was run by a class of highly educated administrators. What for him was a negative term has however since become in many quarters an ideal of equal opportunity. "Bureaucracy" by contrast is nowadays viewed exclusively as a term of abuse, but used to be, for example for Max Weber, a possible expression of an administration run by experts. "Technocracy," finally, is nowadays associated with a cold style of administration based on technical principles, but was invented around 1930 as an ideal of an efficient state run by experts. Each of these three words nowadays has the opposite emotional value that it originally possessed. In his contribution to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Lüthy interprets these fluctuations as the expression of the tension between our wish for competent administrators, on the one hand, and for direct-democratic participation in decision-making.