Michael Young is one of the key figures in British twentieth century history. Focusing on family, community and social change, he has cascaded ideas, in the process coining new words, like 'meritocracy'. He has also initiated or played a major role in creating new and well-known organisations. These include the Consumers' Association, the Open University, and the National and International Extension Colleges. In 1945 he drafted the Labour Party's successful election manifesto Let Us Face the Future: in 1965 he was the first Chairman of the new Social Science Research Council.

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