Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The problems with Technocracy

Well, one of the problems:
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, technocracy is, in essence, rule by technical elites. For instance, your media would be run by trained, credentialed journalism experts. Politicians would be groomed and educated to be leaders from an early age. You could not, for instance, be President if you did not attend the proper schools, earn the proper certifications, and demonstrate a certain set of requirements, like IQ, or perhaps an impressive set of grades in your debating classes.
Climate scientists would run the departments dealing with weather and climate change. Rocket scientists would own NASA, and determine how it should be funded in consultation with the banking experts. The bankers, of course, would run the monetary system and determine appropriate levels of taxation and redistribution.
Naturally, none of these technical elites would need to consult with you and I on these matters. If you are not one of the elite, you would need to be quiet and accept the rulings of your superiors.
The flaws in technocracy are very obvious, to any who care to see them. First and foremost is the matter of trust. Even if we were to concede that the trained, technically-minded elites were better than the hoi polloi, how could one be assured that they were not pulling the wool over the people and taking advantage of them? After all, just because you’re intelligent doesn’t mean you’re honest.
Man, that's a simple way to put things.

Another critique, of course, is that technocrats are increasingly isolated from the negative consequences of their decisions.  Climate Scientists propose policies that impoverish Appalachia due to dodgy computer models and over-confident projections?  They don't lose their houses.  Politicians craft an "Affordable Care Act" that raises the cost of health insurance and the deductibles in the policies?  They don't feed their kids Ramen for dinner.

And so, our own eyes tell us that technically-minded elites are not better at governance than the hoi polloi.  Buckley's dictum that he would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the Cambridge telephone directory than by the faculty of Harvard shows us that these problems have been endemic.  The last election shows that the hoi polloi are waking up to this.


Old NFO said...

Well said, and VERY true!

LindaG said...

Now if only enough of the snowflakes would wake up...

I am praying things turn out even better than we hope.

Ken said...

"After all, just because you’re intelligent doesn’t mean you’re honest."

And if you're lucky, they're just self-serving and mendacious. If you're unlucky, you get technocrats who see the Dieoff as a feature.

Jess said...

I've run across believers in technocracy, while dealing with snotty engineers. Regardless of my opinion, it's wrong, since they have the gadgets that support their contentions. When something doesn't work, and they're faced with costs to repair their mistake, not only am I still wrong, they do everything within their power to keep from writing a change order, and taking responsibility for their mistake.

On some days, it's very hard to not follow my natural instinct to hit them with a brick.