| How the sausage is made|
“”You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times... and safely home again.
“”The question about progress has become the question whether we can discover any way of submitting to the worldwide paternalism of a technocracy without losing all personal privacy and independence. Is there any possibility of getting the super Welfare State's honey and avoiding the sting?
A technocracy is a form of government in which society is ruled by those with technical knowledge. In a technocracy, leaders are selected based on their technological or scientific knowledge. The scientific method is applied to solve social and political issues within the technocracy, rather than democratically voting on a solution or compromise. The term also has a broader meaning of "political leaders that emphasize their academic background in any form of government," hence why you see some governments in countries like, say, Italy or Greece being called "technocratic" by the media. A current example of this is Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
The word "technocracy" was popularized by an engineer in California named William Henry Smyth, who wrote of the concept of technocracy as a means to gain industrial democracy in Industrial Management in 1919, although the OED's first citation is in a medical context, from a footnote in The Economic Journal in 1895 ("Compare the annual contest between ‘physiocracy,’ leading towards ‘nihilism,’ and ‘technocracy’ in the history of medicine"). Over a decade later, in 1933, the Technical Alliance was founded as a way to advance technocratic merit.
Although the scientific method could prove useful at solving some issues, within the scientific method we must find out if a hypothesis is true via testing. However, to get accurate results, it requires a controlled environment and due to humans being quite unpredictable at times, achieving a controlled environment could be fruitless. Another criticism could be that scientists are not inherently fit to be in positions in power. This criticism comes from the belief that most scientists lack the charisma that a leader needs.
Can democracy and a technocracy coexist?
No, or at least in its unadulterated form. As mentioned before, people within the scientific field are put into power. They are not elected.
Theoretically, one could require that all persons who sought a certain elected office would have to fulfill certain requirements, such as an accredited PhD in a related field, or similar requirement. If the sample of people in that field was large enough, then democracy could be approximated, though not perfectly achieved. Supporters of technocracy would argue that the (in their view, minor) loss of democracy is worth the (in their view, massive) increase of effective policy.
- "technocracy, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2019, www.oed.com/view/Entry/198461. Accessed 11 July 2019.
- Technocracy Inc. Homepage, "What is Technocracy We are a non-profit membership organization founded in 1933. Our Mission is to serve local and global communities by providing an informational network in support of a functional and thriving planet. We will inform, educate, and empower the public toward new approaches to sustainable systems by modeling cooperative systems and incorporating scientific research and cumulative ideas."