That if you work hard and are smart that you will be rich. That is not how it works.
First Its determined by who you are born to. There is this family where they do not need to work because they have so much money that they live off their dividends. One man committed a bloody murder and went to jail. And when he got out he was a millionaire because his dividend grew in jail.
The second thing is connections. Its who you know. It does not matter how hard you work to have an impeccable record. The jobs go to people who know people. At job fairs the whole point is to build connections to future employers. And someone the cousin or son or daughter gets in the company. And it does not matter how hard you work because you will never get the position of boss or supervisor. IT goes to the person who is favored.
And finally third. Cheating. There was this man who bought defective rifles and sold them as brand new rifles. People who buy tickets and resell them at higher profits. People who take advantage and buy all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer and sell it for a profit. IT does not matter how hard and honest you work. At the end of the day you will never make more than dishonest people who steal and cheat.
At best you could become a doctor or a lawyer by working honest or hard but even then those positions have snakes in them. Lawyers who lie to win their case. Doctors who are dishonest and cheat the medical system earning lots of money. Honest doctors suffer accusations and extortion and lawyers are pressured to win. This system will only reward the ruthless not the virtuous. Name me an honest company and It will close down or be bought by a crook.
Chances are that you are underpaid at your job and you will never go up in money.
How is it meritocratic if someone is born into wealth but has the mental ability of a goldfish? How do monarchies still exist in western democratic, Capitalist countries? How is it based on merit if people who have exceptional education and results from said education consistently end up in mediocre jobs? How is it meritocratic when people who did not try anywhere in life end up with large corporations, Laying off anyone just to add one more penny to their massive fortune?