An Analysis of Technocracy

Information Brief Number 50

TECHNOCRACY is science in the social field. The Encyclopedia Americana has said: `Whatever the future of Technocracy, one must fairly say that it is the only program of social and economic reconstruction which is in complete intellectual and technical accord with the age in which we live.' The late H.G. Wells stated: `Essentially Technocracy is a soundly scientific effort to restate economics on a purely physical basis.' The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines Technocracy as an `Organization and management of a country's industrial resources by technical experts for the good of the whole community.' These definitions all say much the same thing but in different words.

The studies of Technocracy embrace the entire fields of science and industry. Biology, climate, natural resources, and industrial equipment all enter into the social picture. Technocracy is dealing with social phenomena in the widest sense of the word, including not only actions of human beings, but also everything which directly or indirectly affects their actions. No one can expect to have any understanding of our present social problems without having at least a panoramic view of the basic relationships of these essential elements of the picture. The purpose of our studies is not to give any person a comprehensive knowledge of science and technology, but rather to present an outline of the essential elements of these various fields, as they pertain to the social problem, in a unified picture. The important thing, at this stage of social development, is to get a comprehensive picture of the problem as a whole, rather than of its parts as unrelated scraps of knowledge. Technocrats learn through their Study Course to see this Continent as it really is and to understand how it must be operated functionally so as to result in the most benefit to all, including future generations yet unborn.

Technocracy originated in the winter of 1918-19 when Howard Scott formed a group of scientists, engineers, and economists that became known as the Technical Alliance--a research organization. Howard Scott was chief engineer of this group. The Alliance lasted about fourteen years. Its membership embraced many of America's top scientists and engineers, including such personalities as: Frederick Ackerman, architect; Leland Olds, statistician; Thorstein Veblen, economist; L. K. Comstock, electrical engineer, and Charles Steinmetz. It conducted what became known as the famous 'Energy Survey of North America.' Out of the survey, and under the guiding genius of Howard Scott, there emerged a completely new way of looking at life and human affairs. The social assets and liabilities (in a physical sense) of North America were laid bare for the first time. The social trends and tendencies were analyzed scientifically and for the first time in history a continental area (North America) had a glimpse of its future, or at least of the broad alternatives.


By 1930 the group had become known as Technocracy. In 1933 it was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York as a non-political, non-sectarian, non-profit membership organization. The new organization could then take in laymen for education and teaching purposes. Technocracy has no political antecedents. It derives nothing from any of the historic political theorists such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo or Karl Marx. The basic views of Technocracy derive (embryonically) from the works of Joseph Willard Gibbs, the father of physical chemistry. It was Gibbs who placed the science of thermodynamics on a sound footing; and he emphasized that every process in nature means change. He discovered some of the laws of physical change.

From Thales of Miletus on through such landmark names as Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Lord Kelvin, Willard Gibbs, to Howard Scott, science has been one grand historic march of discovery and progress. Howard Scott is the man, the genius, who first recognized the physical basis of social change, the laws of physical change in human society. He applied the scientific method to the study of social phenomena and the social mechanism, substituting a 'metrical' for a 'value' interpretation.

Technocracy's survey of the economic situation in North America leads to the conclusion that there is in development a process of progressive social instability; that this process will continue until the instability reaches the limit of social tolerance, and that there then will have to be installed on this Continent a social mechanism competent to meet the needs of its people. Technocracy finds further that the day when social operations on this Continent can be based on a system of 'values' has passed, and that it is now necessary that there be applied in the social field the quantitative methods of physical science.

Technocracy proposes that the North American Continent be operated as a self-contained functional unit under technological control. This control would operate the area under a balanced-load system of production and distribution, whereunder there would be distributed purchasing power commensurate with the resources and the continuous full-load operation of the physical equipment, with the guarantee of a high standard of living, equality of income and economic security to every inhabitant, with a minimum of human toil.

Technocracy Inc. (the organization as such) is a means to an end, the end being to assist with the installation of a social system whereby the Continent may be operated according to the needs and wants of its population. These desires will be expressed through a scientifically operated social system so that an abundance of goods and services can be produced and distributed with a minimum of human effort. To insure the continuation of that high energy social system, a careful husbanding of natural resources and an intelligent strategy for continental defense will be necessary.

At this stage the objectives of Technocracy are, first, the education of the people of North America to a recognition of the reasons behind the social crisis and, second, the organization of all those willing to study and interest themselves into an informed, disciplined and functionally capable body whose knowledge and ability can be called upon to prevent chaos in North America at that time, now imminent, when the Price System can no longer be made to operate.


The Monad?

The emblem of Technocracy is the Monad, an ancient generic symbol signifying dynamic balance. It is the symbol of our Organization and of our outlook and body of thought. Technocracy is not a monetary scheme. It is, in a sense, a plan; covering so many avenues of function that it could be aptly described as a completely new dimension of thought. Moreover It is not a fixed plan; it is an overall, flexible, dynamic, skeletal plan. We cannot expect to settle everything for all the future generations now.

Technocrats are not high-pressure salesmen. We want as members only those persons who come into our Organization through conviction. All we ask is to be heard, that our analysis be examined carefully, critically, from a strictly factual standpoint. We insist that the facts cannot be hidden for very much longer. As conditions in our social mechanism become increasingly unstable, more and more people will be looking for an answer to their problems. When they come to us we are here ready to explain our findings and our program. Technocracy Inc. is the only organization with a prepared plan, ready to be adopted when enough citizens of North America demand social change and have the courage to really do something about it.

Today we have poverty in the midst of plenty. Food is stored and destroyed to keep up prices while people on this Continent go hungry and are in want. North Americans must install a new social system which can distribute abundance to all citizens. Albert Einstein once said: 'We are at the dawn of a new world. Scientists have given to men considerable powers. Politicians have seized hold of them. The world must choose between the unspeakable desolation of mechanization for profit or conquest, and the lusty youthfulness of science and technique serving the social needs of a new civilization.'

You could be amongst those people who are aware of the instability of our present social mechanism; and maybe you feel that it is about time you did something about it. But it is quite possible that you do not know anyone who is a Technocrat, and have no idea how to go about obtaining more information. A letter sent to Continental Headquarters, or to some other address shown on this leaflet, will bring you more information and possibly put you in touch with a group of members that is within a reasonable distance from you.

You may agree in part or fully with Technocracy's program, in which case it is your duty and obligation to yourself and to those you care for to study this Organization and its body of thought. Join with the Technocrats in their efforts to enlighten the citizens of North America, so that they may understand the nature of the economic mess we are in at present and realize how severe the economic chaos may be when it confronts them in the future. They can then help avert the approaching debacle and assist in preparing for the next most probable state of society--by installing the only suitable plan available to them: Technocracy.

We urge you to keep in mind that this job of enlightenment of the population must be done; it is no small undertaking, and the time is running short. Although Technocrats have availed themselves of the method, they cannot hope for success without support. Further, it is no more their task than it is that of yourself or any other North American to get the job done.