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Technocracy is an organizational system in which decision makers are selected on the basis of technological knowledge, often because of some conflict or competition where technological escalation is a constant feature.

Table of contents
1 Terminology
2 Technocracy and Democracy
3 Role Playing Game
4 System Of Governance
5 External Links


The term was coined in 1919 by American engineer W.H. Smith. It came into common usage through management theorist James Burham's 1941 work Managerial Revolution. The term became widely used to describe politics and now generally refers to an elite who governs through use of technology/technological prowess. The situation usually described is one in which the elite are selected through bureaucratic processes on the basis of specialized knowledge rather than through democratic or other processes. The term may be either positive or negative.

The general term has been applied to a number of governments, most notably Singapore, Chile under Augusto Pinochet and the Chicago boys, and the current government of the People's Republic of China.

The specific term Technocracy Incorporated applies to a movement started by Howard Scott using ideas from chemist Frederick Soddy and economist Thorstein Veblen. Technocracy Incorporated wanted to use full automation for full production, computers to track consumer demand, and energy credits for money. Technocracy Incorporated is opposed to the price system. The organization was established in 1933. Their magazine The Technocrat is still published today.

Technocracy and Democracy

It has been argued that a constant progression to a more technocratic society is inevitable as many issues have become too complex for most people to easily grasp. Thus, as a theory of civics, it may be that technocracy opposes democracy, which has as a basic assumption that almost no issues are in fact too complex for most people to grasp.

A variant of technocracy is anticipatory democracy which relies on prediction markets and other such somewhat inclusive means to find the most accurate predictors of scientific and technological trends.

Role Playing Game

Recently, the role playing game mogul White Wolf released a game focusing on "the Technocracy" who are said to control reality through means of consentual application of new concepts. They not only control the people through their technology, but all of reality itself. This offers an even more philosophical outlook on the political system.

See also:

System Of Governance

Technocracy can also refer to a system of governance in which laws are enforced by designing the system such that it is impossible to break them. For instance, to prevent people from riding the
trolley without paying, you could simply design the trolley cars so that no one can hop on without first inserting payment into a slot which causes the door to open.

The same idea can be applied on much larger scales, with automated surveillance by semi-intelligent systems that automatically control or limit the actions of individuals to prevent illegal activity. This is called the carceral state, in which the whole state is effectively a prison with strict rules - and all individuals are supervised to ensure compliance.

The principles of anticipatory design, wayfinding, and B. F. Skinner's vision Walden Two, to some degree echo this potential, but relying on psychology and conditioning exclusively, and not on any intrusive technology to enforce the rules.

See also: totalitarianism

External Links