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The term technocracy derives from the Greek words tekhne meaning skill and kratos meaning power, as in government, or rule. Thus the term technocracy denotes a system of government where those who have knowledge, expertise or skills compose the governing body. The term technocrat then denotes a person who either supports or promotes the concept of technocracy or who has membership of a technocratic government. A technocratic government may have a number of implementation with an administration composed of a body of scientist and engineers forming one possible type.

Usage of the term

One of the earliest usages of the term dates back to the writings of William H. Smyth, who first used the term in his book on Industrial Management in 1919.[1] The term was used during the 1920s to describe the works of sociologist and economists Thorstein Veblen, who wrote Engineers and the Price System in 1921. The terms came to prominence in 1933 with the formation of Technocracy Inc.[2] in the US. The resulting technocracy movement became, for a brief period, the largest social movement in the US. The terms was used in the works of James Burnham. More recent usages of the term come from the role playing game Mage: The Ascension, where the term labels a world wide conspiracy, and in Europe with the formation of the Network of European Technocrats, which promotes technocracy in Europe. The term technocrat has also found a use in the European Union as a label for technical bureaucrats.[3]


  1. Raymond, Allen (1933). What is Technocracy?. 
  2. Akin, William E. (1977). Technocracy and the American Dream: The Technocrat Movement, 1900-1941. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03110-5. 
  3. Stiglitz, Joseph. Don't trust technocrats, The Guardian, Wednesday 16 July 2003. (in English)