Technocracy (movement)

Technocracy, the politico-economic movement, advocates the optimization of the welfare of human beings, by means of scientific analyses and engineered action. It does not limit itself to established economic, political and administrative forms, but considers those as human artifacts subject to optimization. As a result, the group's reforms seem quite radical to many people.

Technocracy advocates an economic system in which production is run at full capacity at all times, and purchasing power equal to the productive capacity is evenly distributed to all. The organization claims that this will guarantee both well-being and security for all.

Certain long-term economic trends encourage technocratic beliefs. It is a fact that the labor content of production peaked around 1930, and is continuing to fall. At this time, less than four percent of the people of North America produce all foodstuffs, housing and manufactured goods. Every other working person performs services of some type, and most of these services could be (and are being) reduced or eliminated by better management, automation and centralization.

The result is that more than 95% of the population of North America could become a permanent leisure class, and not a poor one, either.

Technocrats argue that artificial scarcity prevents this outcome. Artificial scarcity is the common management practice of deliberately reducing production to the level at which money is available to pay for the goods. This is the "overcapacity" problem so frustrating to economists and managers.

In practice, a large number of people perform services, however, there are rational limits to the amount of medical, dental, personal care, banking, insurance and other services we can consume. As the arts of these services advance, we can expect to consume more services, with ever less labor content as well.

Since less than 4% of people can perform physically valuable work, this means that if people are paid only for the physical value they create, most people will become permanently impoverished by artificial scarcity.

In the real world, technocrats claim, the money system has been propped up by increasingly huge amounts of debt, which began to increase exponentially after 1930. This has been concealed as the national debt and mortgages. However, this system will eventually fail because of its contradictions with the real world.

Technocrats say that the rational thing is to begin to give away valuable things, and keep production running.

The concrete plans for this include such concepts as non-transferable credits (money) with an expiration date, representing a unit of consumable production. This would be supplemented by credits with longer expiration dates, redeemable for housing or machinery.

History

Howard Scott started the Technocracy movement as the "Technical Alliance" in the winter of 1918-1919. It started as a research organization that recruited scientists, architects and engineers. In 1933 it incorporated in the state of New York as a non-profit, non-political non-sectarian organization. In 1934, Howard Scott, then director-in-chief (his organizational title was "Chief Engineer"), promoted the organization and its goals with a North American lecture tour. The group remains in existence, and still recruits members.

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