Technocracy

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Technocracy

I'm just interested in hearing the thoughts of you all on Technocracy. I have an atheist friend who says that it would be the best form of government. He's an very intelligent guy, but I disagree with him on this point. This is a community with a lot of science lovers, and as a political science major I'm always interested to hear opinions on subjects like this. So I figured I'd ask y'all what you think of a Technocracy? Would it be practical in America? Or would it even be practical anywhere? (meaning if the USA gave all land west of the Mississippi to a start up country that was a technocracy, would it be able to succeed?)

 

Since the whole idea is hypothetical, please feel free to be creative in creating scenarios in which it would or wouldn't work!

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I would think that a partial

I would think that a partial technocracy would be needed if you had a society where everyone's minute to minute existence were dependent on the proper functioning of the technology.  Examples would be an orbital platform (space colony a la Gerry O'Niell)  or a submarine habitat.  Even there, the most I can see is shared authority.  I would attribute the biggest stumbling block to be the difference in personality required for a good and effective leader of people and a good and effective technical type.


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My problem with technocrats

My problem with technocrats is they make the assumption that the government should be highly involved in managing the economy and industrial system. The idea being that the "experts" are more knowledgeable and will know what to do. To some extent we have this with the federal reserve which is supposed to be a bunch of experts managing our economy. Well you see what those screwballs have allowed to happen to our economy.

 

The bottom line is that government is inherently corruptible. Even if you have the best of intentions of having only the smartest people in charge the end result is nepotism and cronyism. Scientists are not immune to the human failings of corruption. The larger the government, the more things they are directly involved in, the more corruption and incompetence you will see. The problem isn't the people in the bureaucracy, the problem is the nature of bureaucracy itself.

 

In politics we have a tendency to get bogged down answering the question "Who should be in charge of x?" but we ignore the question "Should anyone be in charge of x?" 

 

For those who might not know a technocracy is a form of government that puts experts in charge of their particular field. The leaders would be chosen through some kind of bureaucracy by their expertise and achievements rather than elections. (Not everyone here is a political science nerd)

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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Skyzersdad wrote:I would

Skyzersdad wrote:

I would think that a partial technocracy would be needed if you had a society where everyone's minute to minute existence were dependent on the proper functioning of the technology.  Examples would be an orbital platform (space colony a la Gerry O'Niell)  or a submarine habitat.  Even there, the most I can see is shared authority.  I would attribute the biggest stumbling block to be the difference in personality required for a good and effective leader of people and a good and effective technical type.

 

I certainly agree with you on the personality bit.  I would suck at it big time and would hate every minute if I had to be in charge of some part of some government.

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Skyzersdad wrote:I would

Skyzersdad wrote:

I would think that a partial technocracy would be needed if you had a society where everyone's minute to minute existence were dependent on the proper functioning of the technology.  Examples would be an orbital platform (space colony a la Gerry O'Niell)  or a submarine habitat.  Even there, the most I can see is shared authority.  I would attribute the biggest stumbling block to be the difference in personality required for a good and effective leader of people and a good and effective technical type.

I see what you saying, but don't you already think that modern society is already dependent on technology enough that scientists and engineers could take over if they wanted. Imagine if all the IT people just stopped working; we would be completely fucked. The big obstacle i see to a technocracy is that scientists and engineers are not large enough assholes to go on a general strike and watch the world burn around them. You would never be able to get enough of them in agreement to make an impact.


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AAR wrote:... don't you

AAR wrote:

... don't you already think that modern society is already dependent on technology enough that scientists and engineers could take over if they wanted. Imagine if all the IT people just stopped working; we would be completely fucked. The big obstacle i see to a technocracy is that scientists and engineers are not large enough assholes to go on a general strike and watch the world burn around them. You would never be able to get enough of them in agreement to make an impact.

Yea I agree. What we could do though is use the democratic system to put these people in power. I have always felt that our "Politicians" should be professors. Just like we pull in Economists like bernanke to run the Fed, We should be pulling in Political science professors, constitution scholars, philosophers, and foreign policy experts to run the country depending on the most pressing issues in that election year. Obama comes close having been to law school and having taught graduate level law classes, but people like bush, palin? Come on. Why have they ever been relevant at any level let alone a national scale.

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Skyzersdad wrote:I would

Skyzersdad wrote:

I would think that a partial technocracy would be needed if you had a society where everyone's minute to minute existence were dependent on the proper functioning of the technology.  Examples would be an orbital platform (space colony a la Gerry O'Niell)  or a submarine habitat.  Even there, the most I can see is shared authority.  I would attribute the biggest stumbling block to be the difference in personality required for a good and effective leader of people and a good and effective technical type.

There is a big difference between hiring scientists to a technical position (NASA for example) and having scientists in a position to declare governmental policies. The difference between our current system and a technocracy is that in the current system the government decides policy. For example, President Kennedy said find a way to go to the moon and the government hired the scientists to do that job. In a technocracy, the scientists that head NASA could do whatever they decide, maybe go to mars. Either way scientists run NASA, the difference is who controls what policy NASA follows. I don't see how a space colony would be any different. Certainly you would want scientists/engineers hired to oversee and solve any problems but that does not directly translate into giving them policy making powers. 

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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liberatedatheist wrote:Yea I

liberatedatheist wrote:

Yea I agree. What we could do though is use the democratic system to put these people in power. I have always felt that our "Politicians" should be professors. Just like we pull in Economists like bernanke to run the Fed, We should be pulling in Political science professors, constitution scholars, philosophers, and foreign policy experts to run the country depending on the most pressing issues in that election year. Obama comes close having been to law school and having taught graduate level law classes, but people like bush, palin? Come on. Why have they ever been relevant at any level let alone a national scale.

Bernanke is an idiot. Sorry can't help myself. It is an instant reaction every time I see his name. The fed is the ultimate example of how the government can find the most incompetent experts around. Not all "experts" are created equal. 

I always thought it was a conflict of interest for lawyers to write laws since they tend to be the primary beneficiaries of extra red tape and vague wording. It is sad that most of our politicians are also lawyers or well funded by lawyers. The main problem with the US is that the government thinks it is its job to pass more laws and pretend to solve problems. What we need is politicians who will work on taking laws off the books. Never going to happen, but I can dream.   

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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liberatedatheist wrote:AAR

liberatedatheist wrote:

AAR wrote:

... don't you already think that modern society is already dependent on technology enough that scientists and engineers could take over if they wanted. Imagine if all the IT people just stopped working; we would be completely fucked. The big obstacle i see to a technocracy is that scientists and engineers are not large enough assholes to go on a general strike and watch the world burn around them. You would never be able to get enough of them in agreement to make an impact.

Yea I agree. What we could do though is use the democratic system to put these people in power. I have always felt that our "Politicians" should be professors. Just like we pull in Economists like bernanke to run the Fed, We should be pulling in Political science professors, constitution scholars, philosophers, and foreign policy experts to run the country depending on the most pressing issues in that election year. Obama comes close having been to law school and having taught graduate level law classes, but people like bush, palin? Come on. Why have they ever been relevant at any level let alone a national scale.

Keep the philosophers away from it, Jesus H. Christ, what a disaster that would be!

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Keep the

mellestad wrote:

Keep the philosophers away from it, Jesus H. Christ, what a disaster that would be!

Well on the plus side they would probably be so busy arguing over whether or not the government exists they probably wouldn't get anything done. I could vote for that.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X


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mellestad wrote:Keep the

mellestad wrote:

Keep the philosophers away from it, Jesus H. Christ, what a disaster that would be!

Ouch, What is with the anti-philosopher sentiment? You know Plato's ideal society perfectly based on justice was designed to be run by a "Philosopher-King". Although him having been a philosopher might not make him the most dispassionate authority on such a matter


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@Beyond:  Well, there is

@Beyond:  Well, there is always hemlock too.

@AAR:  I think philosophy was great before the scientific method was really rolling.  Honestly though, in the modern world I'm not sure what pure philosophy has to offer as a discipline.  Sure, parts of it are great, but we've rolled those into logic, debate, science, psychology, political/social science, ethics, etc. and all of these things now include an element of empiricism.  I think most of the questions that philosophy was needed to solve have been solved or are probably unsolvable.

That isn't to say it shouldn't be taught, because it should be (and who knows, someone might think of an idea that matters) but I can't imagine how a philosopher is more qualified to decide social policy than a social scientist, or even more qualified to discover concepts that are currently unknown.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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AAR wrote:Skyzersdad wrote:I

AAR wrote:

Skyzersdad wrote:

I would think that a partial technocracy would be needed if you had a society where everyone's minute to minute existence were dependent on the proper functioning of the technology.  Examples would be an orbital platform (space colony a la Gerry O'Niell)  or a submarine habitat.  Even there, the most I can see is shared authority.  I would attribute the biggest stumbling block to be the difference in personality required for a good and effective leader of people and a good and effective technical type.

I see what you saying, but don't you already think that modern society is already dependent on technology enough that scientists and engineers could take over if they wanted. Imagine if all the IT people just stopped working; we would be completely fucked. The big obstacle i see to a technocracy is that scientists and engineers are not large enough assholes to go on a general strike and watch the world burn around them. You would never be able to get enough of them in agreement to make an impact.

No, I don't think our world is at the point that our minute to minute existence depends on the proper functioning of technology.  Sure, pieces of it do - as in aircraft in flight, hospital operating rooms, etc. but for most of it?  Nah.  Techies become techies because they like things better than they like people.  People don't like being treated like things.  Techies don't want the damned job and believe me, nobody else wants them to have it either.


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Well crossover, I would tend

Well crossover, I would tend to disagree with your friend who says that technocracy would be the best form of government.

 

On theoretical grounds, I suspect that there is a “best form of government that has been tried”. Of course there could be a better form of government that nobody has thought of just yet. For my money, some form of democracy is probably just about the best thing going. The rub being, which form of democracy?

 

Certainly not something like the former Soviet Russia where you voted as you were told to vote. However, how do you even compare the Westminster government of Canada to the Federal Republic of the USA? Or how about Unitary Parliamentary system in Sweden?

 

For the question: Which form of democracy is better? I am not sure that you can even fairly compare those three and come up with a clear winner.

 

Now map the idea of a technocracy onto those three nations. Assume that we are talking a century from now and all three found their way into technocracy on their own. They are each going to have different ideas of what that means. Again, the question that comes to mind is how do you decide which specific implementation is the best?

 

Unless your friend meant a one world government. In that case, we are all screwed.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Now, since you are also asking for scenarios, let me first state that any scenario that assumes something from text books of the past is probably not going to take the current state of the world into account.

 

So let me digress a bit to see what the state of the world is.

 

Twenty years ago, cable TV was the cool shit. I remember that every time that Iraq sent a Scud towards Tel Aviv, everyone would run and hide, except for CNN. They would put on chemical suits and run around providing a live feed so that we could watch nothing much happen.

 

Today, If I see a topic of interest to me, I can go to cnn.com and read an article on the matter. They will quote some survey. If I click on the word “survey” I will get a dictionary definition of that word.

 

On the other hand, if I go to a blog that I have some respect for, when I click on the word “survey” I will be linked to the actual survey. CNN, FOX and all the other major media are outmoded because they are stuck in the past.

 

Today, we have blogs, and pod casts. Anyone who wants to do something like that can. If they have something cool going on, they will get a following.

 

Of course, since most people are mentally vacant in some major way, there is also facebook, twitter and so on. Even so, those can play a valid role in current events. I direct you to the election in Iran last year. Twitter was pretty much how the world really knew what was going on. So social networking sites do play a small role in the future.

 

Getting past that digression, the world as it stands is dependent on huge corporations and the ones that can move quickly have a huge advantage over those who can't.

 

So Google, Amazon and Wall Mart hold a place in our economy that the likes of IBM, Exxon and Microshit can't even begin to touch. Not that the latter group is not important but the former group can wield information that can force the latter to modify the way that they do business.

 

Any new companies that form at this point have to make specific assumptions about the flow of information that older companies thought would never happen.

 

In some ways, information can even be thought of as a form of currency. If you have it and your competitor does not, then you are at a large tactical advantage in the general market place.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

 

Now let me turn to copyright. The old media has this idea that information is property. As far as the laws from decades ago are concerned, it is. However, the ability to sell information is eroded by the fact that information can be had easily enough.

 

They shut down the old Napster. They sued the users of Lime Wire. Today, they are getting torrent tracker sites shut down.

 

I can go to goolge and do a search with the “file type” set to: torrent and find what I want. Since trackers are somewhat harder to come by than last year, the world is moving to trackerless torrents. No matter what the old IP industry does, there will always be a way around it and the harder they work to inconvenience the rest of us, the more legally bullet proof the system becomes.

 

Then too, software uses the same laws to try to keep people paying for shit programs. Too bad for the that there is such a thing as Free Open Source Software (FOSS). Some of the best software available today is FOSS. Even if you use windows there is plenty of FOSS out there for you.

 

Not so much FOSS for MAC, although there is a bit. Just another reason for MAC to sit on the margins of the real world. Of course, when you no longer want to do windows, then you go with Ubuntu. It is free, it works for the most part as well as windows. Windows games on Ubuntu tend to be hit or miss but many can be made to work just fine.

 

Thus is the state of the world. Tell me what a technocracy really means.

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Crossover wrote:I'm just

Crossover wrote:

I'm just interested in hearing the thoughts of you all on Technocracy. I have an atheist friend who says that it would be the best form of government. He's an very intelligent guy, but I disagree with him on this point. This is a community with a lot of science lovers, and as a political science major I'm always interested to hear opinions on subjects like this. So I figured I'd ask y'all what you think of a Technocracy? Would it be practical in America? Or would it even be practical anywhere? (meaning if the USA gave all land west of the Mississippi to a start up country that was a technocracy, would it be able to succeed?)

 

Since the whole idea is hypothetical, please feel free to be creative in creating scenarios in which it would or wouldn't work!

 

Technocracy, in my opinion, leads to stagnation.  In some respect, USSR was an example of technocracy.  The architecture in the USSR, for example, was rationalized to cubicles in general.

 


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Well, I have read Soviet

Well, I have read Soviet Science Fiction. It does not mention cubicles.

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... It pains Doomy to see

... It pains Doomy to see the level of technocratic ignorance in this topic...

 

So many errors, falsehoods, misconceptions, and slander! (USSR = technocratic lmao) where to begin... i may need time for this one o_O

 

What Would Kharn Do?


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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

Well, I have read Soviet Science Fiction. It does not mention cubicles.

 

I mean apartments and architecture that were standardized to the level of gray concrete boxes uniformly filling the space of soviet cities.

 


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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:

On theoretical grounds, I suspect that there is a “best form of government that has been tried”. Of course there could be a better form of government that nobody has thought of just yet. For my money, some form of democracy is probably just about the best thing going. The rub being, which form of democracy?

 

I don't thing, even theoretically, there can be a single defined 'best' form, just because the goals of a government are subjective.  Do you think it is possible to define a universal goal of government?

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:Do you think

mellestad wrote:

Do you think it is possible to define a universal goal of government?

Yes, it is to protect sovereignty of the country. 

 

 


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I appreciate everyone's

I appreciate everyone's comments. I don't have much commentary on the subject, but I'm enjoying everyone's feedback. Thanks!

My Master has no desire to be merely victor in a debate: he did not come into the world to fight a battle of logic just
for the sake of winning it. --Charles Spurgeon


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mellestad wrote: Do you

mellestad wrote:

 Do you think it is possible to define a universal goal of government?

To manage, secure, protect, and advance a grouping of territory, resources, culture, and people within it.

 

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100percentAtheist

100percentAtheist wrote:

mellestad wrote:

Do you think it is possible to define a universal goal of government?

Yes, it is to protect sovereignty of the country. 

 

 

That is my point though, many would not agree with that.  So I'm not sure how you can have a perfect government when the governed cannot even agree on what perfection would consist of.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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See if it works

I'm in favor of technocracy on a peer review basis.   Community leaders, for example, should be knowledgeable about their specific communities.

 

This can be tried out with groups of volunteers.