Carl Feynman (
Wed, 25 Jun 1997 16:10:19 -0400

[I accidentally sent this to the filtered list instead of the main list. My
apologies to those on the filtered list who are now seeing it twice.]

>> 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.

Technocracy was invented back in the '30s. It was yet another mass movement
to reform the society and economy along rational, centralized lines, just
like Fascism and Communism. Unfortunately, it never got very massive, which
is fatal for a mass movement. I'm amazed it's still around.

I had imagined it fading away in the '60s, chapter meetings in
air-conditioned brand-new LA living rooms, each attracting fewer members
than the one before, until the last Technocrat packs up all the handbills,
manfestos and meeting minutes into an old Electrolux box and stashes them in
the attic.

> 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.

Once you realize Technocracy is an ideology of the 1930s, this paragraph
makes sense (as rhetoric, anyway). Of course they think natural resources
are important. Of course they trust teams of top researchers. Of course
they compare themselves to the 19th century.

> 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.

Now in the 1930s, this would have made some sense. Back then, lots of
people had moved off the farms and into factories, gone from hand tools to
machine tools, within living memory. But nowadays? Most Americans have
lived in the suburbs amd used power tools for two generations. And
electricity-- the magic KWT-- is no longer the glorious wave of the future,
that will restructure society in its image. Nowadays it's the magic MBAUD,
but that's a rant for another day.

I am struck by the melancholy image of the last Extropian, in 2060 or so,
trying to get the point across to a world which has moved on. Let's hope we
do better than technocracy.


PS. The word 'technocrat' was reappropriated lately, primarily by the
magazine Economist, to refer to a dispassionate and number-oriented style of
economic/political management. Suharto and Steven Forbes are both
technocrats in this sense.