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Not to be confused with the Technocracy movement.
You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times... and safely home again.
—Gordan Sinclair[1]
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?
C.S. Lewis[2]

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.[3] The term also has a broader meaning of "political leaders that emphasize their academic background in any form of government," hence why some governments in countries like Italy or Greece are called "technocratic" by the media. A recent 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.[4] However, 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").[5] Over a decade later, in 1933, the Technical Alliance was founded as a way to advance technocratic merit:

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.[6]


Using the scientific method rather than personal feelings to decide policy could be considered a more practical approach to governance that would produce more optimal solutions to various societal problems, particularly on issues where accurate information is important and solutions are urgently needed, such as climate change. Having a scientifically-based government would also (hopefully) prevent politically-motivated distortion of knowledge that could prove harmful to the public.


Although the scientific method could help solve some issues, within the scientific method, we must find out if a hypothesis is true via testing. However, getting infeasible results 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 of power. This criticism comes from the belief that most scientists lack the charisma (or even the basic social skills) that a leader needs. Even if that statement was regarded as false and the idea of a scientist-ruler (or body of scientist-rulers) was accepted, there are logistical concerns with the idea of technocracy; science and statesmanship are two wildly different occupations and skill-sets, so the leaders of a technocratic society would not only need to have mastery of both skills, they would also need to be able to find time in their schedules for both research and governing. This would probably leave them with very little free time.

Can democracy and a technocracy coexist?[edit]

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 particular elected office would have to fulfill specific requirements, such as an accredited Ph.D. in a related field or similar condition. If the sample of people in that field was large enough, 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.

External links[edit]


  4. Technocracy: First, Second and Third Series. Social Universals by William Henry Smyth (1919). 1st edition.
  5. "technocracy, n." OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2019, Accessed 11 July 2019.
  6. Technocracy Inc. (archived from June 24, 2019).