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Technocracy movement

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The term technocracy movement refers to a social movement that started in the United States of America in the early 20th century and promotes the application of science to society and a rational form of government that provides a sustainable high standard of living for all citizens. Although a number of technocratic organisations were formed in 1933, the movement exists in North America primarily as Technocracy Inc. and in Europe as the Network of European Technocrats.

Origins

The technocracy movement has some of its intellectual origins with the progressive engineers of the late 19th century as well as the works of Thorstein Veblen, such as Engineers and the Price System and, to a lesser extent, Scientific management.[1], Edward Bellamy[2] and Fredrick Soddy.

Early Technocracy

Early technocratic organisations formed after the First World War in both Europe and the United States. In the U.S., these included Henry Gantt’s "The New Machine" and Veblen’s "Soviet of Technicians". These organisations folded after a short time, but not before Howard Scott attended a series of "Soviet of Technicians" lectures.[1] Scott started the Technical Alliance in the winter of 1918-1919. William H. Smyth first used the word "technocracy" in 1919 to describe a government made up of scientists and engineers,[3] and in the 1920s, it was used to describe the works of Thorsten Veblen.[1] The Technical Alliance, composed of mostly scientists and engineers, started an Energy Survey of North America. Many of the survey's conclusions gave a scientific background upon which the Alliance based their ideas for a new social structure. Thorstein Veblen, who wrote Theory of the Leisure Class (1899),[4] was a member of the Technical Alliance and became a strong influence on Scott.

Technocracy in the 1930s

Scott later founded Technocracy Inc. after the Technical Alliance was dissolved in 1933. Other technocratic organisations also formed such as the Continental Congress, which became the largest technocratic organisation in the US in the 1930s. In 1933 the Continental Congress organised a technocratic conference in Chicago at the World's Fair. Technocracy Inc.[2] came to dominate the conference which, on the day, disintegrated. Most of the technocratic organisations began to fold after the conference leaving Technocracy Inc. as the sole surviving group from the 1930s. [1]

Later Technocracy

Membership of Technocracy Inc. declined after the 1930s but technocracy gained new interest in the early 21st century as an alternative socioeconomic system for a sustainable society, which resulted in the formation of new technocratic groups such as the Network of European Technocrats.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Akin, William E. (1977). Technocracy and the American Dream: The Technocrat Movement, 1900-1941. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-03110-5. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Elsner, Jr., Henry (1967). The Technocrats: Prophets of Automation. Syracuse University. 
  3. Raymond, Allen (1933). What is Technocracy?. 
  4. The Theory of the Leisure Class, available at Project Gutenberg.