Why Should I Believe It?or
Eleven Reasons Technocracy Works
Table of contents
- Why Should I Believe It?
- Example 1: Product Quality
- Example 2: Load Factor
- Example 3: Operations
- Example 4: Social Control
- Example 5: Economic Stability
- Example 6: Load Factor part 2
- Example 7: Standardization
- Example 8: Unnecessary Activities
- Example 9: Load Factor part 3
- Example 10: Urban Wastage
- Example 11: A Continental Hydrology
IntroductionOne of the biggest obstacles in explaining Technocracy to people is the fact of its sheer volume. People want and like short 'sound-byte' answers and solutions. This would account for the overwhelming success of the politicians and advertisers over the last century or two. Technocracy, therefore, suffers due to its own inherent complexity. But this really shouldn't be necessary. The general concept of applying science to the social field and dispensing with money and debt is actually a rather simple one. The problem is that this idea is so alien to people, thus they need it explained in its entirety before they 'get it.' I have spoken with many Technocrats who have said that it took them months, even years, before they 'got it.' Some were even actively against the idea, and then set out to prove it wrong. In so doing they found the logic and simplicity of Technocracy to be rather self-evident. They then happily became members. Even after becoming members most people continue to investigate the ideas and principles, maybe looking for a 'flaw' or something Technocracy missed.
So what I have witnessed in this great divide of those who support Technocracy, and those who don't, is a distinct correlation between those who honestly investigate it, and those who don't. This signifies to me the validity of Technocracy's analysis and synthesis. Thus what I hope to show in this article, is that when Technocracy's scientific methodology is applied to various problems, it becomes quite easy to solve them. These are a few of the elegantly simple solutions that Technocracy has proposed in its Technological Social Design. I will not explain much of the science or theory behind them, where applicable, because it will not be necessary. If you wish to learn more about them, then I suggest very strongly that you investigate Technocracy further.
Example 1: Product QualityThe principle here is, as I have said, very simple. Once considerations such as profit are removed, so too are the barriers to efficiency and abundance. Suppose we take the case of razor blades. Suppose again that we have a particular razor blade, disposable of course, and that it is good for approximately three shaves. This would give a rate of usage of about (365÷3) 121.7 razors per year per person. Now, we assume arbitrarily, that there are about 100 million people using these razors. They require one shave per day, 365 days a year. This amounts to a required (100,000,000 x 365) 36.5 billion shaves, for the entire razor using community of the nation.
If these 100 million people were to use the three day razor, then they would require (36,500,000,000÷3) 12.17 billion razors to be produced for the year. Now, it is a commonly unknown fact that, scientifically, it is basically just as easy (energy cost-wise) to produce a razor that will last three days as one that will last for three years. We will assume, however, for this exercise, to have a razor that lasts a single year.
Now here's where the magic happens. Introduce this new blade on the market. You now have people buying them once per year instead of 121.7 times per year. Thus, the number of razor blades that are needed to be produced becomes 100 million per year, rather than 12.17 billion. What this means, in terms of resources and energy, is that well over 99% of the existing razor blade factories may now either be junked, or reconverted to better uses. Of course, such a situation would ruin a company, which is why they developed the idea of planned obsolescence in the first place. However, in terms of providing people with an abundance, the benefits should be self evident. This principle can also be applied to virtually any industry.
Example 2: Load FactorHere we will see how the inefficiency of the Price System (whether it be capitalism, communism, or whatever) can be overcome, again, with the simple idea of removing the idea of money, and replacing it with efficiency.
Let's take agriculture as our example. Over the years many things about our crops have been analyzed and counted. One thing we know is how much of any particular crop we produce per acre of land. This can be tallied and a national average arrived at. We can also look at what is the highest ever amount produced in one acre of land as well. What is not commonly known is that there are calculations for how much you can yield of one crop based on things such as nitrogen content. This is called Perultimate Yield. Perhaps an illustration would help clarify. Take corn. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average yield per acre in 1987 was 119.4 bushels. This is only 53.0% of the known yielding power of 225 bushels per acre. This is also its calculated Perultimate Yield (225), that I spoke of earlier. This shows that most farmers are not quite up to specifications in their techniques. Why? That will come later.
Now let's look at wheat. The average yields of wheat in 1987 was 37.8 bushels. This was about 30.7% of wheat's known yielding power of 122.5 bushels¹. Its calculated perultimate yield is 171.0, making the average only 22.0% of the perultimate yield. These figures look even worse, since we are producing only one quarter to one fifth the food we could be with the same space. And it gets even worse too. There are figures also for oats, barley, rye, and sugar cane, and the percentages for them are 13.7%, 17.0%, 14.6%, and 19.5% respectively. Obviously something is wrong here. But since it is not the purpose of this article to show why it is, we will for now say that it is simply money, and that once removed, farmers would have access to all the latest farming equipment and techniques, thus the percentage, or 'load factor' of the crops could easily be raised to 50, 75, even 90%. In fact, and I quote from Technocracy: Technological Social Design (5th ed. 1990, page 36): "...because with such yields as could be obtained by those methods, little more land than is contained in the state of Illinois would be required for all agricultural produce for the United States."
Just imagine it! With all the old farmland now not needed, we could begin work to try and restore the land to its pre-Columbus state! Our children could enjoy the large expanses of wilderness and bio-diversity like we ourselves never could.
Example 3: OperationsPeople often wonder how things will actually be run in a Technocratic society (also called a Technate). All this science and engineering is fine when talking about cars, or razor blades, but what about the people running things? Surely, since there are people still involved, politics can never be taken out of government as Technocracy claims. This is a false statement however. The reason most people assume this is because, again, Technocracy is very unlike any other type of government ever conceived of. The operations of the people working in it is not based on any type of political assumptions, as is every Price System government. These people would simply be qualified workers doing what they do best, work in their chosen field.
This form of organization is not something just dreamt up by the Technocrats while sitting in a misty utopian daze. Technocrats are very down-to-earth and practical people. Thus, their model of operation can be found in real life, operating even today. Most people know little if anything about it, but it is a system that has proven itself with the test of time.
For this example we will use the old Bell Telephone Company, before it was divided up into smaller corporations. The reason for this is that, operationally, it best resembled the requirements for physically operating an entire social area. What we are particularly interested in is the part of the company that was involved in the installation, operation, design, and maintenance of the actual telephone system itself. The financial aspects are excluded, as we have in previous examples.
Thus, what we had was a single, functional organization that employed about 800,000 people. It maintained the continuous operation of a continent-wide technological system (one of the most complex in existence) on a 24 hour basis. It was also a dynamic system in that the technology installed was continually changed to keep up with scientific advances, with rarely an interruption in service. It also grew from the size of only a few people to 800,000 to meet the demand of the citizens of the continent.
Obviously, since the system worked, one can see that the methods used were ones that worked. People who were right for the job were put on the job. If they hadn't been qualified, something would not have worked, everyone would have noticed, and that employee would have been replaced quickly, possibly given a job that they were qualified to perform. Thus, it would be safe to reason that whatever methods of interaction and selection of personnel were used were adequate of a system resembling a Technate. What were these methods? They were not political, and they were not financial. They were based on merit. If one was qualified for the job, and an opening appeared, one would be moved into it.
The exact procedure of position selection has to do with Technocracy's idea of appointment from above from candidates selected from below. Thus, if a position opened up on level 3, candidates to fill that position would be selected from level 2, by the workers of level 2. From these candidates, the managers of level 4 would pick the person best qualified. Of course, one might immediately spot all sorts of dangers in this type of selection, but again, Technocrats didn't make it up; they merely found something that already works. If the person wasn't qualified, something wouldn't work, thus everyone would notice, and he/she would be replaced, and the first worker would be relegated to a position more suiting their talents. Corruption would be nonexistent, because again, fluctuations would get noticed, and since there is no way to gain anything like money or power over others in a Technate, any form of corruption would be pointless. But that is part of another discussion.
Thus we may think of a Technate as one big Bell Telephones, with a branch for communications, one for transportation, one for energy, one for housing, etc. These would be called Functional Sequences. All these would be working for maximum gain by all, rather than for themselves or their 'company'. And since we have the resources to do it, gain we all would. This is another reason people have a hard time understanding the Technate, because it is simply a form of control of technology, not people, as every government in the past has been. Nontechnical concerns such as religion, art, culture, language, and the color of the flag would be matters for the people to decide, in the first truly democratic system ever devised.
Example 4: Social ControlThe title of this example must cause some people some concern. I know that I have just finished saying that Technocracy advocates the control of technology, NOT people, and here I am going to prove it again.
The basic idea stems from what most people mistakenly call "human nature". They claim that humans are, by their very nature, greedy, competitive, and aggressive. This assumption is based on the observation of people in major countries over the last several centuries. And indeed, the observations themselves would be correct. The problem lies, however, in that all these observations were made under the same circumstances. Were the circumstance to change, might not humans act differently?
An example to illustrate this point would be to observe the properties of say, iron at room temperature. We can observe, quite correctly, that it is a hard, inflexible substance. It is dull and gives off no light. We can observe millions of pieces of iron form all over the world and still reach the same conclusions. However, remember that this is all at room temperature, plus or minus a few dozen degrees to account for weather. But what if we were to take that iron and heat it up steadily? At some point we might observe it start to glow, much to our surprise. Further heating might make it soft, and eventually it would liquefy, and pour itself anywhere it could. Thus, upon final examination this super-heated iron would no longer resemble, in any way, the iron of the millions of previous observations.
So how does this apply to humanity? All our observations of what should be termed "human behaviour" rather that human nature, up until now have been under the rather consistent conditions of scarcity. Even the rich, who might have all they could want, are operating under the scarcity condition, and are thus limited in their behaviour to it. Yet even still there are, some few people, rich and poor, that are naturally giving enough not to be greedy, materialistic, or predatory. Often this may cause them some harm, if they are taken advantage of by those who operate in the scarcity game better than they. And thus what is rewarded is not intelligence, or any work ethic, but rather greed, and fear. Together with a healthy dose of cleverness makes a frightening yet successful human being.
But what if people didn't operate in a scarcity environment? Well, this is a rare occurrence indeed. The only analogous situation would be some aboriginal tribes in Africa, or early North America. We have found (often to our own puzzlement) a tribe that seemed uninterested in expanding, in growing, in taking over. They would just live their lives contented with their abundance. If one was hungry, one could find an animal to hunt and then feed his or her family. Water might be plentiful also. Of course not all tribes are like this, and those who do not live in abundant areas would find themselves inclined towards predating upon neighboring tribes. Thus begins the problems that have plagued us through the millennia: crime, wars, hunger, and poverty.
What Technocracy has long tried to point out was that if you take away a person's need to find security, they can move on to more peaceful and enlightened behaviours. Thus, changing human behaviour is as simple as changing their environment. For instance, if people in New York City want to cross the Hudson River, they most commonly do so at 125th street. They almost never cross at 116th street. Why? It is not because the law forbids it, or it's against people's moral or religious beliefs. It is simply because there is a ferry at 125th and none at 116th. So it becomes a matter of people's behaviour adjusting to their environment.
In a Technate, everyone would have a guaranteed income as a right of citizenship. This income would likely be more than most people would find it convenient to consume. Add to this free health care and education, and no debts or taxes of any kind, and people will no longer need to worry about these things. They may then move on to what they would prefer to be doing, whether it be travelling, sports, or hobbies. Should an individual decide that they want their neighbor's television set, why should they bother going to all the hassle of trying to covertly break into their house and steal it, when they can, in broad day light, get one of their own delivered to his door? Maybe even two? He would have more than enough income to do so.
In this manner, 95% of the crime that the FBI reports are crimes against property would be eliminated without having passed a single law, or starting a moral movement of any kind. Human beings simply adapt to their environment. Thus leaving the government of the Technate free again to worry about the control of the technology, and NOT the people!
Example 5: Economic StabilityOne of the things people fear, especially investors, is market instability. It was forecast by Adam Smith when he wrote his book declaring the benefits of a free-enterprise system. Obviously, the free-market system failed in the face of abundance when the stock market crashed in 1929. Communism didn't last much longer. The only reason our system continues to even run today is that the government and big business have conspired to do everything possible to maintain this economy, which has been described as being on "life support." Anyone who has taken some decent courses in mathematics knows that in any fluctuating formula, if you continually increase the value of the base variables (such as population, energy conversion and consumption, physical production and waste), that the swings will eventually become bigger and bigger, until the downswings become intolerably low, i.e., a crash. This is what happened in 1929, and will, despite all our band-aids to the economy, happen again.
So how can this be avoided? Again, by simplifying things. Take out money, profit, debt, and interest. What you have left is a country full of natural resources, factories, and consumers. What you do is simply take the resources out of the ground, get the people to operate the factories to produce useful products, and then simply distribute these products to the people. Of course, this is a large over-simplification, but it is the basic idea. Obviously questions of who gets what and when inevitably arise, and thus must be accounted for, and they have. Instead of basing things on the intangible idea of 'value', the physical cost of all products and services can be measured. The only common factor they all share that can be measured physically, beyond any doubt or variation, is energy.
So, if we measure how much energy it takes to pull materials out of the ground (or recycling centers), and add that to how much energy it takes to process them and transports them to their respective factories, where more still energy is used up to manufacture the use items, and then deliver them to the distribution centers (stores), what we arrive at is a sum that represents the total energy cost of operation of the entire continent. Then, we can take this number, and divide it by the number of citizens on the continent (man, woman, and child), and the result is each citizen's share of that huge production.
The next step is to distribute it to the public. Technocracy does not propose a 'rationing' system as some people may fear. This sort of fear comes from scarcity conditioning. Instead, each person would have an 'energy card', like a credit card, but with a chip on it to record the pertinent information relevant to that person. It would be a form of identification, it would keep track of their energy 'credits', measured in ergs, joules, or maybe kilowatt-hours, and it would also be used to help the Distribution Sequence keep track of the consumption of each individual. The reason for this is not a form of 'spying', but rather, if we know how much bread is being consumed, we know how much to produce.
The end result is Economic Stability. Production would be geared to match Consumption. Thus a dynamic equilibrium between production and consumption is achieved. There would be no more saving, or waste. There would be no 'price' fluctuations since the cost of any one item would simply be its physical cost of production. Thus costs would stay the same, occasionally decreasing whenever more efficient production or transportation methods were discovered and used.
Example 6: Load Factor part 2The concept of load factor is an important one, because it represents so much of the waste in our society. We have far more factories working to produce the little amount of shoddy goods we do just to keep prices high, and this in turn requires that far more people work and waste resources than are necessary. So I will give you another example of how load factors can be improved to everyone's benefit, the Automobile. However my purpose is twofold; the automobile represents the greatest amount of prime-mover power capacity in North America. The significance of this may become apparent when we look at the numbers. In 1987 the total number of prime-mover engines², measured in millions of horsepower was 33,263. (Prime mover being defined as engines that produce energy from a primary source of fuel. For example, electric motors would not be considered prime mover, since they derive their power secondarily from electric utility stations, or from batteries.) Automobiles, in the same year, comprised 31,488 of these. The rest are variably divided up between factories (65), mines (47), railroads (53), merchant ships (29), farms (354), electric central stations (958), and aircraft (269). As we can see, automobiles make up 94.7% of all these engines. Therefore, I think that it is fairly safe to attribute a great deal of our industrial waste and more importantly, air pollution, to this creature. It is for these reasons that Technocracy has given much attention to the intelligent redesign of the transportation system, and if automobiles are to be used at all, something drastically new must be devised.
Again, to begin with, we simplify the matter. How often do people use their cars, really? Most of the time cars are parked in a garage, parking lot, or simply on the side of the street. This means that the load factor of the automobile is appallingly low. Once all averaged out, the national load factor of the automobile tends to be in the 4-5% range. This means, that for every hour the auto is moving somewhere, it spends about 20 sitting idle. This also is factoring in the fact that at many times a four or six passenger vehicle is used to transport only one or two people. Many people also use trucks for their own personal transportation, but few use the cargo area of it very often. It's simply a matter of convenience.
So the question becomes, how do we increase the load factor of automobiles without sacrificing their convenience? This question has been answered in a long and complicated way, some of which we will describe later in the example of Urbanates, but for now, we will simply concentrate on the auto's load factor.
What Technocracy envisions, is a sort of national "drive it yourself" system. First of all, no cars of any kind would be personally owned. There would instead be a network of service garages located at convenient places all across the continent. If one required the use of an auto for any reason, he/she would simply visit their local garage and pick up a vehicle suited to their needs, whether it was a two, five, or eight passenger vehicle, or maybe a truck. When finished they would return it to the nearest convenient garage, where they would 'pay' for it based on the distance travelled or the time used, depending how much they used it. This is done to keep the load factors high. When returned, a vehicle would be cleaned, refuelled, and serviced so as to be in perfect working order for the next consumer that required its services.
Using this system, the load factor of the automobile could easily be brought up to 50%, more likely 70 or 80%. Even at 50%, or ten times the national average right now, 90% of all automobiles could be scrapped, with all their corresponding waste. Using the quality control mentioned in the first example, cars could be made to last decades or more, again reducing industrial waste and pollution. This has the benefit of freeing people from more labor, while still giving them the same or even a better standard of living, since employment and manufacturing could be diverted towards other areas, thus providing the abundance Technocracy is always talking about. Again, similar things can be done in virtually all industries.
Example 7: StandardizationAnother way in which automobiles, and quite frankly, most if not all industries, can be further improved, is in the concept of standardization. This is the process of making sure that all similar products use as many similar or identical components as possible. For example, let's look at cars. Today we have dozens if not hundreds of different car manufacturers. Each one has its own design of automobile, possibly several. Each one of those is likely to require it own special parts, also manufactured by the same company. What this results in is numerous service garages with numerous repair people having to be familiar not only with the individual parts of each model, but the placement and interaction of them as well. This represents a huge waste of time, resources, manufacturing capacity, as well as manpower.
Now, with Technocracy's proposal for automobiles, there would only be a handful of specific designs, one for each use. As mentioned earlier, this may be based on how many passengers are required to be taken, and/or the amount or type of cargo that needs to be transported. Also, as many of the parts that comprise these vehicles as possible would be made to be interchangeable. Thus, there would only need to be a small number of factories producing these parts, and correspondingly less things for each service person to learn, allowing them to concentrate on efficiency, accuracy, and quality. This could be applied to all manufacturing, whether it be in construction, electronics, or aeronautics. Standardized parts reduce waste, increase efficiency, and again allow people more free time and energy credits to enjoy themselves or with loved ones.
Of course, this is only a proposal. Automobiles may likely not be needed nearly enough in the future as they are now, depending on other social changes.
Example 8: Unnecessary ActivitiesThis is a simple one. When one has a functional society based on energy accounting and technological control as Technocracy has outlined, things like money, debt, taxes and interest are no longer needed, and would indeed only get in the way. This of course, frees up all sorts of people from their current jobs. Those working for purely financial institutions, for example, would no longer be needed in those capacities. That includes bankers, bank tellers, investment brokers, real estate agents, insurance people, and tax lawyers. Also, virtually every company has at least some people devoted strictly to financial matters, such as sales people, advertisers, treasurers, and stock people. These people to would be free to pursue another career.
Another source of the waste of manpower comes from the inefficiency of our retail sector. In 1986, there were a total of 17,845,000 people working in 1,923,000 retail stores serving a total population of 242,000,000 consumers in the United States³. What this amounts to, is an average one store, employing nine people, to serve 121 consumers, or one employee for every 14 consumers. Should profit, waste, and inefficiency be taken out of the equation, and automation employed fully, there is no reason that a single store, employing only a couple dozen people, could easily handle 10,000 consumers. This again, frees many people back into the work force.
All this restructuring must sound like a deliberate plan to send unemployment through the roof to most people, and indeed, in a Price System like ours it would, given the interference of money. However, look at it this way. Even after all this is done, the same amount of goods and services would still be being produced, right? Only if the people are getting paid, you probably say, and your right. Thus, if you guarantee this income to people, the work will get done. But it's not fair to have only one part of the population work full time to support another part, is it? So, what we do is take the total work that must be done, and divide it among all the capable, adult population of the continent. It is for THIS REASON that Technocracy has proposed a career starting at age 25, working four hours a day, for four days a week (16 hrs/week), until the retirement age of 45! Simply because we have more people available to do the work that is actually necessary to the running of a society. And this is all before properly implementing the full automation power that we are technically capable of. It is no longer a silly dream to envision a society that one day no longer needs to engage in nearly any sort of physical labor. Our present production is being performed by over 98% machines, why not higher? We can free people from the scarcity mentality of greed and predation and let them go on to do what is really important, not just surviving, but actually living!
Example 9: Load Factor part 3This is one of the aspects of Technocracy that I most enjoy. Part of idea of Load Factors is to keep equipment running as much as possible. It is not difficult to have machines and factories working 24 hours a day. This is commonly seen in such sectors as our power, telephone, and other utility services. But most of our business and life cycle still revolves around the 8-hour day. This causes all sorts of inconveniences to the populace, which, not too uncommonly, leads to more serious problems.
Take power, for instance. For eight hours each work day, most homes sit fairly idle. Then, around six-o'clock, someone comes home, turns on the lights, the t.v. or radio, cranks up the oven or microwave, and then at about 11, turns it all off again. This is perfectly acceptable within a single household, but imagine what happens when an entire country does this, virtually simultaneously! This means that the power plants need to be able to provide that huge amount of power for that peak period. The rest of the time, they will be providing substantially less, maybe 50%, or less. This means that the Load Factor of power stations is not a high as it could be.
Take traffic. Everyone in North America is quite aware that it would be wise to avoid driving around 7 am and 5 pm, but still they do it. This creates congestion, traffic jams, accidents, and the frequently coined "road rage." It makes you take longer to get to work and get home, thus wasting your time. It is in general a drain on the population.
How about stores? Don't you just hate getting off work at 5pm and the banks close at 4:30? Granted, this isn't the case with everyone, but it is fairly common. Stores, banks, and recreation facilities all have corresponding peak periods when they are usually understaffed, overcrowded, and that again, is a waste. Further still is the long hours between these times, when almost nobody comes in at all, yet the store must have sufficient capacity and room for the peak loads, just like a power generator. What's worse, however, is that most of these stores close for the night, and so, for anywhere from 8 to 16 hours they remain unused, producing a low load factor. This also is in part responsible for the unnecessary amount of retail and other outlets as described in the previous example.
What Technocracy proposes is a 24-hour schedule. This way there are no peak periods. No traffic jams, no closed or busy stores, no crowded entertainment facilities (movie theaters, etc.), just a peaceful, smoothly running society, running continuously all day and night.
Accompanying this concept is the Technocracy Calendar, which applies the same principle in having things run continuously all year, instead of breaks for vacations and the like. Granted, everyone will get vacations, (78 consecutive days in fact) but they will be staggered throughout the year as to avoid peak periods. Thus, working four hours a day, four days a week, with a 78 day vacation period, makes for a total of 165 days actually worked. This is less than half the year. And that will only go down as time goes on. Doesn't that sound good to you?
Example 10: Urban WastageEarlier we explored how the re-structuring of the automobile would provide adequate transportation while significantly reducing the waste in their manufacture and usage. But that amount of transportation would still be being done (measured in either passenger-kilometers, or ton-kilometers). Thus the actual pollution done buy the vehicles themselves still needs to be addressed. Of course, with money constraints out of the way, only the most efficient and nonpolluting car engines would be used (such as hydrogen or electrical). However, in addition to that, we can vastly improve the efficiency of our transportation by reducing our need for it. To do this we must redesign the places we travel around in, namely, our cities.
In a Technate there would likely not be any cities as we would know them. Instead we could abandon our poorly constructed and primitively detrimental homes and move into improved centers of living that Technocracy has termed "Urbanates." The first feature of these urbanates would be that they would be completely planned out first. Their design would be intelligent, efficient, and controlled, right down to the screws in your doorknob. We could mass manufacture these by largely automated means. The materials used to construct them would be light, durable, sound and fire proof, and as friendly to the environment as can be conceived. They would be integral living units, combining the familiar features of housing, schooling, distribution, recreation, and health care. With such a design, certain factors can be deliberately chosen to exist in them that never could be in an ordinary city: maximum efficiency of resources, careful and sanitary control of waste products, and maximum space and beauty for each citizen to enjoy.
One of the first characteristics noticed of these Urbanates would be their rather small size. Large cities require you to travel long distances, often unattainable on foot, just to get to your place of work, or your favorite recreations place, or to visit a park or zoo. In an Urbanate, all these things would be centrally located, surrounded by the large buildings that would house its population. This, when appropriately planned, makes it only a short distance to go in order to go to the store, school, or work. Even these small distances could be alleviated through the use of technological devices such as vertical and horizontal elevators, and moving sidewalks. Of course, everywhere would be accessible by foot as well, so that anyone could travel however much they would like by just taking a walk. But when carrying things home, these devices could be of significant convenience.
Many of your resins for going out of the home today would also no longer be necessary. With an advanced magnetic delivery system (or equivalent) mail and other small parcels could be easily delivered to and from your home. Shopping could easily be done by catalogue, even electronic ones, and the goods delivered to your door at a time you specify. This is not a ploy to keep people in their homes, but rather another way of freeing people from the activities they perform out of necessity in a scarcity environment. It is certain that while some may want to sit inside all day and amuse themselves, many others will be out taking advantage of all the activities they could not have performed in such great quantities in a Price System: travelling, sports, hiking, games, performing, arts, and whatever they can think of to spend their abundant free time and energy. Life in a Technate would become more focused on leisure time, rather than on work as it is today.
Another way to reduce the need of automobiles is to redesign the transportation between Urbanates (and other locals). Low speed, large quantity freight would be carried by the most energy efficient method of which we currently know: waterways. A Continental Hydrology (discussed in the next example) would connect one side of the continent with the other, providing the cheapest way to move passengers and cargo.
Of course, most people on the move will choose to move quickly. For them and for the cargo the must be moved fast there will be an advanced, fully planned continent-wide high-speed railway. This way you can cheaply and quickly visit your friends and relatives in another Urbanate. No longer would you have to plan for a several week drive through winding mountain or dreary prairie roads, inside the cramped quarters of a half-ton car. And if you prefer to see the scenery (which, after a Technate is established, would be much more plentiful and beautiful) and are not in a hurry, the aforementioned boat system can get you there just the same, both in comfort and style.
For people and cargo in a big hurry there would of course be a fleet of high speed jets ready for take-off. Imagine living in New York state, flying off to meet friends for lunch in California, and then to Florida for dinner with the folks, and having the income to do it all too.
Example 11: A Continental HydrologyYet another alien concept to those used to living in the haphazard world of scarcity economics is the idea of a Continental Hydrology. Concepts such as this are only possible in nations with three characteristics: 1) that it be a planned economy that can control the resources of the whole country and direct them towards continent-wide projects such as this, 2) that the country be one of abundance, in order to have the resources, manpower, and technical expertise to intelligently design it, and 3) that the society be scientifically governed, so as to not let precepts of philosophy or opinion interfere with a project such as this, in which mistakes could be catastrophic.
There are many examples in the history of this continent and on others, of the use of dams and irrigation that has had harmful, even dangerous effects on people. Rivers with regular flood periods do so to alleviate the buildup of access rain. These floods are normally small but quite inconvenient to those living on their shores. Thus dams are built to control the floods. But the water has to go somewhere, so it usually floods down-river. Then, the people there build their own dam, forcing it further down-stream. Finally, the pressure builds until the dams in place are no longer sufficient, and a catastrophic flood occurs, washing out homes and businesses. This is not as uncommon of an occurrence as one might at first believe. It comes from the unplanned mentality that short-term band-aid solutions are sufficient, a paradigm of thought that pervades our Price System society.
Obviously, if floods and erosion are to be controlled, it needs to be by a central research authority with the resources to collect as much data as possible, as well as conduct non-harmful experiments where necessary. With this data in hand, it should be possible to construct a continent-wide hydrology that would serve many purposes. Two already mentioned would be flood and erosion control. Others would include bringing irrigation to help reduce desert areas, and connecting the nation in order to enable a cheap, non-polluting continent-wide transportation of goods and passengers, as has been mentioned earlier. More research needs to be done on this before it can be considered practicable, but it will not exist in any society other than a Technate.
As we can see, it is the simple application of science to these complex, even previously insurmountable problems that will pave the way to a new era of prosperity. Only a disciplined, organized body of function will be qualified to run the industrial machine of North America. Politicians and economists are no more qualified to do this than they are to fix a 747 airliner. Our problems are technical in nature, this has been proven. Therefor the solutions must also be technical, as we have seen in these examples. But these examples are only the application of Technocracy's methods and research. In order to truly comprehend Technocracy all that is required is a willingness to learn, and to continue learning until one is satisfied that they have the facts. Sadly, this is not a trait commonly taught to our children. We can only hope that this article, and others like it, will show you that Technocracy is indeed worthy of your investigation and time. We look forward to your inquiries.
1) Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture & Reshaping Agriculture, O.W. Willcox (1934), p.66
2) Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Annual GPO, Washington, D.C.
3) Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census
Other sources: Technocracy: Technological Social Design (5th ed. 1990)