I'm working with the idea of a futuristic society spread out across the galaxy. This society is rather warlike, and doing well in battle earns prestige and money. Thus, anyone can rise up to the highest ranks. Of course, there need to be people at the bottom for there to be people at the top; how do you make a position appeal to someone, no matter how disadvantaged the position may be?
For example, maybe in this society there are cool mechas that are expensive, comprising the top of the army hierarchy. At the bottom are infantry, which are still useful and necessary. How do you convince a person that they want to be an infantry rather than the pilot of a mech?
Note: Everything is rather transparent; there are no propaganda campaigns that disillusion the masses while the elite get better things.