1 of 8
1
Technocracy
Posted: 15 May 2009 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10

As some of you may know, I came here from the TechnocracyNET forums (http://www.technocracynet.eu). I am not a member of “NET” (Network of European Technocrats) nor the North American Technocracy organization, “Technocracy Inc.”, but I think their findings and proposed solutions are compelling.

You all seem like rational, open-minded people, so I figure you might want to hear what they have to say. They predict that the price system will collapse, and this actually may be happening right now with the global financial crisis. Their solution is nothing short of elegant, scientific, and rational. You can read more about it at http://www.technocracyNET.eu (“Network of European Technocrats”), http://www.technocracy.ca and/or http://www.technocracy.org (forum and articles for the North American “Technocracy Inc.” organization). I prefer the NET version of Technocracy over the American version as it is more modern.

I made this thread so we can discuss Technocracy. I am somewhat knowledgeable on the subject and may be able to answer your questions. Also, you may be able to show me new viewpoints that I had not previously considered. Thanks smile

EDIT: By the way, to avoid confusion, I have found that there are many forms of Technocracy. Some have been tried, some are only theoretical. You can find out more about them on wikipedia. However, the TechInc. and NET versions of Technocracy you will probably find to be more…palatable, as they are not as fascist or controlling, especially the NET version.

[ Edited: 15 May 2009 02:44 PM by domokato ]
 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 May 2009 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15395
Joined  2006-02-14

Might help if you could explain in your own words and in short what technocracy amounts to. The claim that “the price system will collapse” is unconvincing, both because there is nothing right now remotely capable of collapsing it, and because there is nothing that would replace it were it to collapse except another price system. So I don’t get that at all.

If you think that the global financial crisis is capable of collapsing the pricing system, you should look at hyperinflation, which has occurred repeatedly, e.g., in the 1920s in Germany. Those haven’t collapsed the pricing system (at least, not for long), and since they haven’t, I’d wager that nothing will.

They won’t not because pricing is perfect, nor because it is immune to stress, but because it is useful.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 May 2009 05:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  262
Joined  2008-06-13

I did look at the North American site and found it without credibility after a brief review.  The chief assumption, as far as I could tell, is that there are unlimited resources and its a only a matter of re-distributing. 
I fail to see how this differs from any other form of collectivism or communal society.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 May 2009 05:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

Pure collectivism always fails because of parasites.  It would be wonderful if everyone contributed everything they could to the community and took only what they needed, but there are always a few who take without contrbuting.  They can expend their energy procreating and passing on their behavior to their progeny.  Gradually, their number increases to the point that the workers are overwhelmed, and the society collapses.  A pricing system where each person gets credits for his/her efforts based on their value and can trade them for his/her needs makes it more difficult, but not impossible, for the parasites.  So, a pricing system is essential for any community of any size.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 May 2009 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  262
Joined  2008-06-13

In part these things fail because of theoretical assumptions made which don’t hold in practice.  As in economic theory, which assumes rational actors with perfect information, neither of which exist in practice.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2009 10:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1201
Joined  2009-05-10

Might help if you could explain in your own words and in short what technocracy amounts to. The claim that “the price system will collapse” is unconvincing, both because there is nothing right now remotely capable of collapsing it, and because there is nothing that would replace it were it to collapse except another price system. So I don’t get that at all.

If you think that the global financial crisis is capable of collapsing the pricing system, you should look at hyperinflation, which has occurred repeatedly, e.g., in the 1920s in Germany. Those haven’t collapsed the pricing system (at least, not for long), and since they haven’t, I’d wager that nothing will.

They won’t not because pricing is perfect, nor because it is immune to stress, but because it is useful.

Technocracy is a form of society that uses “energy accounting” instead of money. The Technate (a nation under Technocracy) keeps track of all the energy spent making consumer products and services and distributes equal purchasing power to every citizen in the form of energy credits. As many jobs as possible in a Technate are automated (which, in a price system is often times impractical to do since outsourcing is cheaper), giving workers more time to do other things as well and at the same time reducing the overall energy usage in the Technate (humans are less energy-efficient than machines performing a certain job).

The price system (or capitalism, at least) will collapse because it is not sustainable:

“Our enormously productive economy . . . demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption . . . we need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever-accelerating rate.” -Victor Lebow

The power of the US is based on this, and it in turn drives the world economy.

In a Technocracy, resource allocation is under state control and is handled by scientists and engineers instead of politicians or corporations who often have goals other than “to provide a high standard of living for all citizens for as long as possible”, which is Technocracy’s goal. The price system provides little incentive to achieve sustainability.

Occam - 15 May 2009 05:40 PM

Pure collectivism always fails because of parasites.  It would be wonderful if everyone contributed everything they could to the community and took only what they needed, but there are always a few who take without contrbuting.  They can expend their energy procreating and passing on their behavior to their progeny.  Gradually, their number increases to the point that the workers are overwhelmed, and the society collapses.

Has this happened before somewhere? Can you give me more information, please?

In part these things fail because of theoretical assumptions made which don’t hold in practice.  As in economic theory, which assumes rational actors with perfect information, neither of which exist in practice.

Agreed. That’s why NET is aiming to create a proto-technate, to test its viability before committing to a full-fledged technate. They say the problem of motivation to work (parasites) can be solved with proper incentives. The wikipedia page for “motivation” (link) cites some studies that show that money is a weak motivator compared to praise, respect, and recognition, and can actually extinguish intrinsic motivation.

 Signature 

“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2009 10:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2009-05-17
dougsmith - 15 May 2009 04:11 PM

The claim that “the price system will collapse” is unconvincing, both because there is nothing right now remotely capable of collapsing it,

It relies on exponential growth to continue. All natural system that maintain grow exponentially collapse. Also, all fiat money systems (such as the one we use today) has collapsed in the past. One of the interesting things with such systems is they appear to be fine right up to the last minute!

ui

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 May 2009 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2009-05-17
Occam - 15 May 2009 05:40 PM

Pure collectivism always fails because of parasites. 

I think that tends to be the case when all are equal such as in communism. However, in technocracy although people have equal access to resources they are not treated as equal. Technocracy treats people differently depending on their skill and education. However, without money it does make it more difficult, but not impossible, to minimise the parasite problem.

ui

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 May 2009 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15395
Joined  2006-02-14
domokato - 17 May 2009 10:13 PM

Technocracy is a form of society that uses “energy accounting” instead of money. The Technate (a nation under Technocracy) keeps track of all the energy spent making consumer products and services and distributes equal purchasing power to every citizen in the form of energy credits. As many jobs as possible in a Technate are automated (which, in a price system is often times impractical to do since outsourcing is cheaper), giving workers more time to do other things as well and at the same time reducing the overall energy usage in the Technate (humans are less energy-efficient than machines performing a certain job).

So basically the state decides how much everyone is paid for everything. That sounds like a nonstarter, sorry.

domokato - 17 May 2009 10:13 PM

The price system (or capitalism, at least) will collapse because it is not sustainable:

Er, that is a circular claim. My claim is that it is sustainable, based on the data that it has been sustained through crises significantly worse than the one we’re going through right now.

domokato - 17 May 2009 10:13 PM

The power of the US is based on this, and it in turn drives the world economy.

Do you mean to suggest that the US somehow “drives the world economy”? Or that somehow the US is the sole worldwide support for capitalism and fiat money? Neither of these claims bears scrutiny.

[ Edited: 18 May 2009 04:34 AM by dougsmith ]
 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 May 2009 04:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15395
Joined  2006-02-14
isenhand - 17 May 2009 10:38 PM

It relies on exponential growth to continue. All natural system that maintain grow exponentially collapse.

The only sense in which fiat money relies on “exponential growth” is that it usually includes inflation. But as I have shown, even examples of hyperinflation can be overcome. All that is required is a return to fiscal responsibility and a re-printing of new denomination banknotes.

Otherwise, your point about exponential growth appears to me to be a non sequitur. I do, of course, agree that exponential growth in population or natural resource usage is unsustainable, but that is a completely separate topic that has nothing to do with money or capitalism, and is not one that would be solved by yielding to a single all-powerful institution for pricing data. What is instead required is careful and effective environmental regulation, education for women, funding for family planning.

isenhand - 17 May 2009 10:38 PM

Also, all fiat money systems (such as the one we use today) has collapsed in the past.

Examples?

And by “collapsed” you don’t mean that they had periods of hyperinflation which were then overcome with a return to fiscal responsibility and printing of new denomination banknotes, right? Because that isn’t a collapse relevant to your case. It wasn’t permanent.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 May 2009 04:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2009-05-17
dougsmith - 18 May 2009 04:26 AM

So basically the state decides how much everyone is paid for everything.

No, no one gets paid for anything. Each has an equal allocation of production.

dougsmith - 18 May 2009 04:26 AM

Er, that is a circular claim. My claim is that it is sustainable, based on the data that it has been sustained through crises significantly worse than the one we’re going through right now.

Correct, and I don’t see this current crisis as the end. I thinkits the limits to physical growth that will cause the system to collapse. Physical systems can not sustain exponential growth.

ui

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 May 2009 04:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2009-05-17
dougsmith - 18 May 2009 04:33 AM
isenhand - 17 May 2009 10:38 PM

It relies on exponential growth to continue. All natural system that maintain grow exponentially collapse.

The only sense in which fiat money relies on “exponential growth” is that it usually includes inflation.

More complex than that. You also have to include interest and profit making for driving exponential growth.

 

dougsmith - 18 May 2009 04:33 AM

I do, of course, agree that exponential growth in population or natural resource usage is unsustainable, but that is a completely separate topic that has nothing to do with money or capitalism,

Ah but it does, the economic system does not exist separate to the physical world. If it did then there is no problem, we can go on adding zeros to money as much as we like but as the economy drives resources usage the whole system becomes unsustainable.

dougsmith - 18 May 2009 04:33 AM
isenhand - 17 May 2009 10:38 PM

Also, all fiat money systems (such as the one we use today) has collapsed in the past.

Examples?

http://dailyreckoning.com/fiat-currency/

dougsmith - 18 May 2009 04:33 AM

And by “collapsed” you don’t mean that they had periods of hyperinflation which were then overcome with a return to fiscal responsibility and printing of new denomination banknotes, right?

no.

ui

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 May 2009 05:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15395
Joined  2006-02-14
isenhand - 18 May 2009 04:46 AM
dougsmith - 18 May 2009 04:33 AM
isenhand - 17 May 2009 10:38 PM

It relies on exponential growth to continue. All natural system that maintain grow exponentially collapse.

The only sense in which fiat money relies on “exponential growth” is that it usually includes inflation.

More complex than that. You also have to include interest and profit making for driving exponential growth.

And what does that have to do with “collapse”? The only purported source of collapse I’ve ever heard for fiat currency involves hyperinflation. Interest and growth are net benefits—indeed, the only reason we have higher standards of living today than in the 18th century is because of exponential growth in productivity.

isenhand - 18 May 2009 04:46 AM
isenhand - 17 May 2009 10:38 PM

Also, all fiat money systems (such as the one we use today) has collapsed in the past.

Examples?

http://dailyreckoning.com/fiat-currency/

Did you read the site? It includes “periods of hyperinflation which were then overcome with a return to fiscal responsibility and/or printing of new denomination banknotes”, as I said; e.g., Weimar Germany, 1932 Argentina, 1994 Mexico, 1997 Thai Baht, et cetera. It also includes the Roman Denarius which was not a fiat currency. It was debased because the amount of silver in it decreased (the fact that this guy talks about the percentage of silver in the coins means it is not fiat currency. Were it fiat currency the precise makeup of the metals would be irrelevant), and because the government which printed it dissolved. Nobody claims that the Roman Empire dissolved because of fiat currency.

isenhand - 18 May 2009 04:46 AM
dougsmith - 18 May 2009 04:33 AM

And by “collapsed” you don’t mean that they had periods of hyperinflation which were then overcome with a return to fiscal responsibility and printing of new denomination banknotes, right?

no.

Er, yes. Re-read the site.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 May 2009 05:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  262
Joined  2008-06-13

Economics as a science has such large error bars that I think it highly unlikely that one could in any way predict how a radically different system such as this would act in actual practice.  Assumptions like no one owning any property seem like non-starters.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 May 2009 05:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2009-05-17
dougsmith - 18 May 2009 05:01 AM

More complex than that. You also have to include interest and profit making for driving exponential growth.

And what does that have to do with “collapse”?

No natural system can sustain exponential growth.

dougsmith - 18 May 2009 05:01 AM

Did you read the site?

and there you have some examples.

 

dougsmith - 18 May 2009 05:01 AM
isenhand - 18 May 2009 04:46 AM
dougsmith - 18 May 2009 04:33 AM

And by “collapsed” you don’t mean that they had periods of hyperinflation which were then overcome with a return to fiscal responsibility and printing of new denomination banknotes, right?

no.

Er, yes. Re-read the site.

What that site says and what I mean are not the same. You asked for examples and that site gives you some.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 May 2009 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  8
Joined  2009-05-17
Hawkfan - 18 May 2009 05:30 AM

Economics as a science

It has the characteristics of a pseudo-science. But the economics is not too important, its the physics that matter. The economic system drives exponential growth and no physical system can sustain such growth. In the end the system will collapse. The interesting question then becomes; what type of system can we sustain? I suspect we have many answers to that and the form of technocracy we have worked on Europe exemplifies one such answer.

ui

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 8
1