The first thing one should say is that our system does reward hard work, up to a point. Other things equal, those who put more in will earn more.Therefore: wealth is the ultimate arbiter of who is right and moral in our society. Our only current weakness is that there is not some measure of 'equality of opportunity' in determining that rightness.
There is something deeply disfunctional in this world view. It drains the concept of inspiration from all human activity.