1. Efficiency is always at the cost of human lives. Humans aren't built for efficiency and top efficiency will always cost lives. That's why humanity only works with a bunch of compromises. Like democracy, which is one of the least efficient forms of government, because it's just a compromise.
2. There is no evidence in the last 20000 years to support that the elites will do anything to properly advance or even handle humanity. In fact there is plenty of evidence against it, especially in the US. A meritocracy does not work and will not ever work. At least not if your goal is to bring a good life to a majority of people.
We already know that the Republicans have no interest to better the lives of the majority.
The massive human population growth in the last century certainly isn't due to lack of efficiency. Too much efficiency is a problem, like I mentioned, it must be within reason and kept in check.
The elites have been in charge for quite some time. Over just the last century, life hasn't gotten better for people in general, not to mention the poorest of people? This is on top of massive population growth. I'm not saying it's perfect, but your reflection and outlook is extremely bleak compared to what's occurred.
Maybe better posed, what if both have little interest, just one is better at hiding it physically and verbally?