"If meritocrats believe...that their advancement comes from their own merits, they can feel they deserve whatever they can get."
A meritocrat is a member of the meritocracy, a class of ruling or influential people who are selected for their intelligence rather than their family connections. It is not a new word, but was coined by the British author Michael Young in his satirical 1958 novel The Rise of the Meritocracy.
The last thing to happen is the ULTIMATE. The next-to-last is the PENULTIMATE, and the second-to-last is the ANTEPENULTIMATE