The practicalities for people doing so however are overlooked. Apple, the only credible threat to Microsoft’s operating system, is expensive. Google currently has no credible alternative. Facebook manages to lock one's pictures, friends, posts, and all else contained within one's profile, making it incredibly difficult to move to another social network.
Yet there are many truths expressed in the special report. Intellect is being empowered by the technological revolution, and, unlike other more settled and less exciting times, people do have the ability to achieve incredible success and become one of the elite few, one in about 50,000,000. Everyone has now access to all or almost all knowledge. Everyone who can read and write is able to communicate with about 2.5 billion people in the world, and influence opinion, engage in activism, change politics, create a better world in whatever little way.
In practice however such power is illusory. Let us not forget, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckenberg both went to Harvard, an elite institution.
The Economist argues that this new meritocratic global elite, which achieves success through hard work and intellectual ability, tends to marry intellectual women, thus producing intellectual children, whom they can support by sending them to private schools, thus giving them the best education, which combined with other, more subtle qualities, such as the size of the vocabulary used at home, leads to raising children just as educated and achieving as their parents, if not more so.
It is difficult to balance the proposition that a new meritocratic elite has arisen, with the argument that this elite tends to breed within their own rank and their children tend to be as successful. It seems to be no more than a new name for an old system. Power, influence and richness is achieved through hard work and above average intelligence. Once achieved, this is passed onto siblings and retained within the family. Thus is gradually creating a new elite, which achieved power through merit, but retains it through heredity. Thus, nothing has changed but the people.
There are many great structural problems which hinder talent, due to no fault of the particular individual and it is dangerous for our society to accept that those who have risen have done so due to their hard work and intellect alone. If it were true perhaps we could rejoice, but the wealth of a family, their contacts and connections, their race and gender, play a greater role in who rules and has greater influence.