United States of America a Meritocracy?
For any society or culture to prosper, there must be a work reward arrangement.
The merit system brings out the best in everyone, and grows an economy. Socialism creates a dead economy because hard work is punished, while laziness is rewarded.
The reasons people move up the ladder in businesses is not because of laziness, missing work, unreliability, etc.
It's because they worked hard and proved their merit to the company. Their reputation precedes them. They will find it much easier to move up the ladder of success.
The carrot and stick makes the world go round.