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Interesting points. Would you say that the "elite" category is fixed? SA might be a good example to challenge this - how many of those who are in the leadership roles would have been outside of the elite in earlier days? They may now be blacks - probably as you note part of the black elite - or whites whose political affiliations/values are liberal but who have access to higher education, so wealth and some connections. Even still, these categories of the elite - both of whom would likely have been excluded from an earlier form of SA elite, as I imagine would most of the women in leadership roles - are an expansion of the category.

On a theoretical level, concentration of power among elites is meaningful only if there is a consistency in who defines the elites - running a major company will presumably always make one rich and powerful, hence by definition part of the elite; the question is whether that elite is comprised of people whose avenues to enter it were closed or open at birth.

Also, there is perhaps some value in most practitioners' eyes in suggesting that meritocracy matters in modulating how elitism happens. Promoting a norm to look to advanced degrees as a notion of merit, for example, is probably seen as valuable even if it is not replacing the current elite's neighbors and relatives with a new population, because it at least lists an objective criteria for inclusion that anyone could attain, and creates a sense that appointments on the basis of kinship to someone without the right degree are in some way sub-optimal or even shameful. To see if it mattered, you'd have to see if norms did change, and if those changing norms affected the decisions of boards of directors over time.

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