Kyle L. Webb (
Mon, 23 Jun 1997 13:43:39 -0600 (MDT)

> This has been posted to the technocracy list, as a reply to my request
> regarding the goals of technocracy. Could somebody please comment on
> these guys' approach validity? I know that the loss of jobs due to
> automation problem is real, probably forcing us to do some (discriminate!)
> wealth redistribution over long. However, I somehow fail to see how below
> approach should solve any problems at all...
> |karpal|

I get worried when someone tells me of a magic scheme to solve all of
our problems, that involves the citizenry rising up, and imposing it
on everyone.

It sounds to me like someone took an ecology course, and was struck
by how ecosystems have energy economies. They then proceeded to
rename a number of existing economic structures, and refer to them
To some approximation, money is already a shorthand in the economy
for energy transfers (to the point that you can model it that way),
and can be tracked the way that an energy budget is used in
ecology. It gives a nice viewpoint of looking at it, and maybe
some insight.
Unfortunately this bunch seems to have missed that nature is the
ultimate market economy (if income goes below expenses for an extended
period of time, the animal or plant goes out of business (dies and or goes
It sounds like they think this form of accounting will automatically make
some change in the system. However, nature is way ahead of them. Natural
systems accomodate parasitism (read: taxation), overgrazing (deficit spending),
symbiosis (sweetheart regulatory deals) etc.
The problem is not the accounting system, but rather the system itself,
and they seem kinda vague about how they will change it, and how they
will mandate those changes.

Specifics follow.

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Sat, 21 Jun 1997 15:41:22 -0700
> From: Jacqueline Q. Scott <>
> To:
> Hello Karpal -- or Eugene Leitl -- or whoever. Do you know zero about
> Technocracy???

Why is it that the purveyors of "magic bullet" solutions seem to think
everyone should already know them? This is a tip off that we're dealing
with faith rather than reason.

> Technocracy would be about is THE ANSWER to North America's [and
> eventually our planet's] financial fiscal crises -- which have grown
> worse with fifty years on Red Ink-o-nomics of WW II.

The capital letters seem to be either out of a marketing department, or a
Zippy the Pinhead quote generator. Neither bode well for the rest of
the piece.

> Technocracy's goal is to aid in the GREAT SWITCHOVER from fiscal
> accounting of GNP to energy accounting system of ECO*nomics --
> calculating everything in actual quantity produced by the amount of
> energy [KWTS, ergs, BTU's instead of IOU's] on a total and a per capita
> so that everyone in a geographic area would be supplied plenty of the
> Earth's natural resources as well as those manufactured.

No specifics, but the implication of some sort of system to mandate that
everyone got what someone else deemed was plenty.
The "geographic area" sounds suspiciously like a centrally planned
economy for various regions. The past few decades have shown that to
be pretty much bankrupt (USSR, N. Korea, etc.)

> The BIG DIFFERENCE in today's manufacture, as well as agriculture, from
> a century ago is the use of sophisticated technology instead of muscle
> power -- especially with the 20th century's advent of KWTS -- and yet
> we're still trying to price people when they perform only 2% of the
> labor of today's world of push buttons and automation.

Well, I can't argue too much with that. But that's partly because the
last sentence is confusingly worded.
I keep wondering about the reference to KWTS (I assume they mean
kilowatts) almost as if it were a religious invocation.

> To sum it up -- The Summit of Eight are meeting in Denver to try a
> fiscal fix when our real problem is perpetuating the PRICE/PROFIT SYSTEM
> which perpetuates pollution and poverty -- while Wall Street and
> Washington are going crazy on IOU's, the rest of are trying to survive
> alive on the WAGE GUAGE which actually rations food/ housing/ medical
> care / education instead of equitably calculating HOW MUCH STUFF VS HOW

Again this begs the question of who is going to do the calculating of
who gets what.
It does use the time honored method of raising a specter that can then
be villified (The Summit of Eight), and hopefully keep you from noticing
that what they consider the real enemy is the "PRICE/PROFIT SYSTEM",
i.e. free market economics.

> I know I'm putting this in simple terms, but Technocracy's goal is to
> help implement this DESIGN which was developed by 300 top researchers
> who took INVENTORY of North America's resources and minerals to see if
> we could support our INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION which tends to gobble up
> resources much faster than the 19th century hand-tool pace.

Not only an appeal to credentials, but anonymous ones at that.
Sorry, but I stopped buying pigs in pokes some time ago.

> THE PROBLEM IS -- in Six Decades of publications, lectures and meetings,
> not many Americans seem to understand what Technocracy is all about.

Not many Americans understand what Scientology is about either, despite
several decades of moderately successful marketing.
And note how Technocracy is capitalized so it refers to something
completely different than the usual meaning of technocracy.

> Just last week President Clinton in San Diego was talking about equality
> of races -- whereas the DESIGN of a Technate of The Americas would
> assure more equality than any money system ever has or could -- for
> everyone would be assured their share [by choice not price] of whatever
> our GNP would be in consumables and housing would no longer be by
> mortgage -- so everyone would enjoy the best quality and most
> sustainable.

This is what in science is called the too many miracles problem.
Just implement our magic system (which we don't rigidly define), and
all the problems will go away.

> You refer to Hayek and I've, for many years, received THE FREEMAN
> economics journal [which is not about economics but financial] and Hayek
> is discussing ways to make the dollarsign system work -- when the actual
> fact is that KWTS changed forever the way people and machines WORK --
> yet we're still attempting to price everything as if we're all still on
> the farms and making stuff by hand -- which we aren't.

I certainly see the quantitative changes it wrought, and in some cases
even qualitative changes, but I don't immediately see how they negate
the utility of a market economy. Again, no reasoning behind it is given.

> Did you just recently come into the Technocrat/Technocracy loop?
> In simple terms, Technocracy proposes MEASUREMENT by quantity instead of
> PRICE -- I just spoke with a man this morning about how many KWTS his
> household consumes and he couldn't tell me except in dollarsigns. It's
> awfully hard to get folks to think in terms of quantity instead of
> price.

You could measure it in Quatloos, or whatever unit you want, but there
will still be a mapping from one measurement system to another. The
basic math doesn't change.
It would take some work to account for all the input and outgo of a
household in terms of energy used, but I'm not even sure it would have much
real utility, outside of making decisions about environmental impact.
Unlike a price system, it's cumbersome in its dealing with scarcity or

> Entirely different from politics [which takes money and lots of it] the

And what does this have to do with the price of butter in Beijing?
Simple obfuscation to draw attention to dissatisfaction with an aspect
of the current system, and away from questioning the one being discussed.

> physical lines of production crossed in 1913 [Chart on Brief No. 28]
> going upward while the number of hours to produce unit of product went
> downward from 14 hours a day to what we promote now -- and had zero to
> do with who was President or banking -- these are physical facts.

Ah, so I am to understand that government and banking policy has zero to
do with the outcomes of the economy?
It's not a direct cause and effect relation, but each has some effect on the
other. To say that it has none, is just a way of trying to sell that since
the current system is irrelevant you won't lose anything by trying ours.
I'll give them that the current system may in some ways be undesireable, but
hardly irrelevant.

> There are INFLECTION POINTS in pig iron or automobiles where things take
> an S-curve -- CEO Andrew Grove of INTEL Corp. told Commonwealth Club
> several years ago that when INTEL hit the Inflection Point he had to lay
> off not the usual 10% but a third of their workers and close down a
> third of their plant. [and IBM was hoping Intel would take over some of
> their closed way.]
> His message to the Commonwealth Club and to AMERICA, was that AMEERICA
> has now reached its inflection point.

Another message that says the system is about to collapse or go thru a
major reshuffling, with the implication that only our magic system will keep
bad things from happening to you.

> I'd like to see the Citizens rise up peacefully with a CITIZENS' BALLOT
> for a new accounting system based on Technocracy's Energy Accounting
> which has all been researched before we were born -- based on a DESIGN
> which would prove ecologically sustainable -- for we all recognize that
> our present M.O.N.E.Y. SYSTEM of Man-ipulating Of Nation's Economic
> Yield as if there is not enough to go around, is not equitable and
> doesn't consider some people as human beings deserving of even a roof
> over their heads or appropriate food let alone education unless you can
> afford $25,000 and cerdtainly health care becomes prohibitive for 40
> millions.

Attempt to lay on a guilt trip if you support a free market system.
Also note the use of the acronym. Likely there is some defined
definition of M.O.N.E.Y (tm) that is different from what is the
usual meaning of money, and the economic system it circulates in.
I'm reminded of the early 70s when one commercial jingle was:
"We've changed our name to Exxon, but it's still the same old gas"

> What do YOU see as a better way to IMPLEMENT the best of what has
> already been designed for North Americans to live well, but not as
> wastefully?

Gads, the hubris. No allowance that there might be a better way than their
magic formula, but only a possibility of more effectively implementing
what they have already dictated (and not bothered to really define).
Sounds like the usual true believer viewpoint.

> Where do you fit into all this? JQS

An implication that if you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the
problem. i.e. Why aren't you out there shouting our magic system from the
rooftops, because any fool can see it's the best.

Well, sounds like the usual dreck from those who would impose a bankrupt
centrally planned economy for supposed environmental reasons. Their program
could have some worthwhile aspects to it, but it's impossible to tell from
this. It's all sales, and no real info.
On the whole: No thanks.

Kyle L. Webb Dept. of Physics + Astronomy University of New Mexico