Today’s post is part of a special series here on Planet Pailly called Sciency Words. Every Friday, we take a look at a new and interesting scientific term to help us all expand our scientific vocabularies together. Today’s word is:
Technocracy is a hypothetical form of government in which political power is given to technical experts, mainly scientists and engineers. Government policy is set not by debates or elections but by experimentation through the scientific method. The ultimate goal of a technocratic government would be to create a self-sustaining society, a society that lives in maximum comfort given the limits of its natural resources.
Although there have been plenty of examples of scientists contributing to public policy decisions, we have yet to see a true technocracy in action. I think a technocratic political system might have some advantages. In democracies, we elect our leaders, but that is no guarantee that the best or brightest people in society will lead. Too often, it’s the better-funded candidate who wins the election, or if not that, it’s the candidate who does a better job rallying the crowd with an elegant speech.
In the Tomorrow News Network series, the government of the alien race known as the Hykonians is identified as the Hykonian Technocracy. Also, in the T.N.N. story “Mother Mars,” the ancient Martians appear to have a technocratic form of government. I find the idea of a technocracy fascinating, and I can see how some might think it’s an improvement over our current democratic institutions. However, I have chosen to portray these fictional technocracies as deeply flawed and prone to corruption, because no political system is perfect.
Despite the potential advantages of a government run by Einsteins, I fear the disadvantages are far greater. There’s probably a good reason this form of government does not already exist somewhere. But what do you think? Would we be better off under a technocracy, or should we stick to the political system we already have?