This thread has really taken a turn for the worse and I find that very unfortunate because there were a lot of interesting and worthwhile ideas that have been presented here. A lot of the commotion here from my perspective seems to be infighting from people who really share a lot of the same goals, but have misconceptions about each other that is unfortunately driving us apart. I'm glad Kolzene has returned because his knowledge can help us bring this together in a sensible manner. But first of all the personal attacks need to cease as it is not conductive to productive discourse. This is a very important topic for me and one I have spent years contemplating.
For starters, we need to clear the air here on some of the more unfortunate misconceptions that have been laid down.
TechnocracyTNAT wrote:No Kolzene it is not accurate at all it is obviously nothing but typical Marxist theory which has absolutely nothing to do with Technocracy and I'm pretty sure the Marxist "class war" people are some of the last people Technocracy is going to want as allies. The quote I posted above should have made that pretty clear. For someone with a Howard Scott picture and an (excellent) Howard Scott quote in his profile you should know this by now.
As Kolzene adroitly pointed out that is consistent with Technocracy. It is also consistent with Marxist theory. That is because these two while often thinking themselves as different really wind up at a very similar place when you look at it.
We need to be clear about this: Technocracy is a form of Socialism. It can only exist under socialism and by bringing it about you would necessarily for socialist system.
Now before anyone cries foul here, we need to step back and look at what each one entails and get to the heart of the matter. It is true that Technocracy is not the same as what as what existed in say, the Soviet Union but the Soviet system was considered to be transition phase - it never fully built socialism
. Obviously we know the Soviet system collapsed, but there were a lot of reasons for that and we can learn from them but we need to realize that the productive forces were less advanced there and other factors that prevented it from achieving its stated goals. I only bring this up because we need to establish context. A more proper socialist system in an advanced economy such as in North America would be precisely along the lines of what Technocracy Inc. states.
A socialist system entails an end to capitalism - it is a system wherein the means of production are socially managed and controlled. Technocracy Inc. precludes the existence of capitalism - not only does it remove ownership of the means of production from the capitalist class it destroys the very underlying fabric of capitalism itself by ending the price system
. Under this system capitalism no longer has any relevance, it is thus rendered wholly obsolete. This is what a completed transition to a socialist system entails
. This is exactly
what both Marxist socialists and Technocracy Inc. advocate in their end result by bringing about a post-capitalist system. By using Energy Accounting and Technocracy would precisely mean a democratic socialist plan economy.
This fact has not been lost on Marxists, indeed there have been acknowledgments of this:
Trotsky wrote:"Technocracy" can come true only under communism, when the dead hands of private property rights and private profits are lifted from your industrial system. The most daring proposals of the Hoover commission on standardization and rationalization will seem childish compared to the new possibilities let loose by American communism.
National industry will be organized along the line of the conveyor belt in your modern continuous-production automotive factories. Scientific planning can be lifted out of the individual factory and applied to your entire economic system. The results will be stupendous.
To wit, Trotsky recognized what I am mentioning now in no uncertain terms - the goals of Technocracy Inc. entail a system where private property rights and profits have have been removed from the productive process. It can only exist once that has been done
- the abolition of the price system and the full use of Energy Accounting under a socially planned economy means that capitalism has been removed. This is exactly what socialists such as myself wish to see happen and it thus only possible once capitalism has been removed.
I have a lot of respect for Howard Scott, I think he was brilliant engineering mind and the work he and the Technical Alliance have done is very valuable. They worked out a lot of very important details for this sort of thing. But Scott was not a great political mind - let's be fair here - it was not his main vocation and he wanted Technocracy Inc. to be as apolitical as possible. I understand where he's coming from given his background. But I feel he did not understand the Marxist position fully, nor do I blame him for having a dislike of what was going on with regards to the Soviet Union. Also I think his views have been somewhat colored by the time in which he lived when anti-communism was very prevalent in American discourse. But a lot has changed in 50 years, and we should not let these historical arguments get in the way of the task at hand which is how we are going to get these wonderful designs from Technocracy Inc. implemented. Make no mistake here, I fully support getting that done
and that's what this thread is about after all - how to get there. I am not your enemy here, our goals are completely compatible even if we disagree on details. So let's work together to do that friend, after all that is the essence of what my sig symbolizes technocratic socialism
TechnocracyTNAT wrote:Sorry I thought you were going to ban me anyways. Quetzalcoatl started attacking me first for no reason.
No one is going to ban you as long as you conduct yourself according to the forum rules
. You're new here, so let's take a step back and not jump on each other based on initial presumptions. There is no reason we can't have a civilized discourse and I hope you will represent Technocracy Inc. well in your time here.
KlassWar wrote:I am a Marxist, not a right-wing technocrat, and I'm here to deliver Marxist criticism of technocracy: Technocracy is reactionary because it specifically seeks to disempower the toiling masses and centralize power in a bourgeois-intellectual elite separated from the working masses.
The term "technocrat" has indeed been used to mean that, but that's not what we're talking about here. If it were just putting intellectuals in charge of the existing capitalist system that would indeed just be more right wing claptrap and I completely agree on calling that out for what it is. This is not what Technocracy Inc. proposes however, what they want is only possible once capitalism has been abolished.
KlassWar wrote:For an economy to function in the interest of the masses it must be physically answerable to the masses and organized by those experts and intellectuals that maintain the trust of the masses and are aligned to their interests, preferrably Marxist and proletarian intellectuals.Yes, this is exactly it.
The experts would be put in the roles they are best suited towards to help organize the economy but all other decisions would be made democratically. Furthermore, by abolishing the price system and thus the very foundations of capitalism we will have completely transitioned to socialism and on our way to making a proper classless society. This why Technocracy Inc.'s model is valuable - if it was implemented it would mean exactly that. Now we just need to get there so we can do that, which of course is the topic of this thread isn't it?
Now I hope we can get that cleared up, because I really do think that Technocracy and Marxist socialists should be natural allies since upon further analysis we both want a similar model for society. We have enough pressing things to address without tearing ourselves apart.
To that end we must now turn our attention back to how we can achieve such a result. Now Technocracy Inc.'s model focuses mostly on education, emphasizing that it is not a political organization. If it were possible for such an organization to exist in a vacuum then perhaps that would be so.
On Kolzene's website Technocracy.ca we have the following Roadmap to Technocracy
. It starts out well underlying three preconditions for such a system:
Technocracy.ca wrote:Technocracy has stated that is has three requirements in order to make it possible:
1. That there be a sufficient amount of natural resources to be able to produce an abundance of goods and services.
2. That there be a sufficient amount of installed technology to turn those resources into use forms.
3. That there be a sufficient number of trained personnel to operate that technology.
According to Technocracy's research, North America already has these three requirements. Given the advances in technology it may even be possible that other areas of the world do as well. But if this were really all that was needed, then why hasn't it been put in place yet? It is because there are other requirements not part of this list. This list features only the physical requirements to make it possible, and they were emphasized in order to point out to people that it was indeed possible. Two other, non-physical requirements exist as well. The first is obvious, the Technocracy Design. We have that (to some degree anyway), so what else? The second is the informed consent of the public. This last requirement is the big one that we are missing, and thus becomes the focus of our beginning to construct a plan to build Technocracy.
This gist of this is quite clear, in order for the model Technocracy Inc. lays down to become a reality the productive forces must be sufficiently advanced and there must be trained personnel. This indeed shows the problem less advanced societies faces where such preconditions are not met and thus advancing the means of production is necessary for full technocratic socialism to become possible. This is something that Marxists have long acknowledged - so here again we are mostly on the same page. We're off to a good start here.
From there the Roadmap
goes to explain the importance of education
for spreading Technocracy's views, and then goes on the discuss a bit on how to be efficient in how to care about that education. For Technocracy Inc. then focus on the purely educational side of things becomes paramount in their approach to spreading their message. Well, then what? How do we go from this social movement to getting this implemented? If we look historically into the Technocracy Movement in North America we can see clearly what happened. The goal of the movement was to get referendum on putting the system into practice. As if one could simply gather support and propose it then that would be taken seriously by those already in power who then give the people the option of putting it into power.
That is not what they got. The response of the establishment was less than encouraging, instead they told Howard Scott in no uncertain terms that it would be best if he would stop his research. Scott of course refused, but from then on Technocracy Inc. was heavily criticized especially after some of their early predictions for collapse of the price system did not come to fruition. As many others have done before them, they underestimated the resiliency of capitalism and the price system and it has limped ever since. The North American Technocracy Movement lost momentum after that and while the advent of the internet has been a boon for getting its message out its spread remains mostly small and we have other, often less full developed proposals such as the Venus Project (from some who broke away from Technocracy Inc. itself) come forward with their own plans. Yet none of them has yet achieved mass appeal.
More importantly, there is the implications of what Technocracy Inc. proposes and how it effects certain entrenched interests - their response to the Technocracy Movement and Howard Scott is very telling of this. Technocracy Inc. is thus viewed in the same light though on smaller scale as what Marxist socialists and others had to deal with - those who feel they have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo for their own profit and status it confers them view these proposals as a threat to their interests in a very real sense.
This is where I feel Technocracy Inc. falls short, because they do not adequately address the issue of agency
. It is this important question that I feel separates those in Technocracy Inc. from Marxists and such socialists. Technocracy Inc. claims its not political and in narrow sense it may be true in that it doesn't campaign for office but it is innately political because it advocates a political-economic system that presupposes the abolition of capitalism and the price system
. Along with that you are going to be confronted by the entrenched elements of the present ruling class who view that abolition as a threat to them. This is not something that can be sidestepped by resorting to pure education - as if we could educate enough people and then they might
be kind enough to let us do things our way without opposing it or using their own already existing ideological and cultural hegemony which they can use disrupt and discredit us at every turn. This is the reality we are confronted with, it is not a pleasant one but it is something we must address as a point of necessity.
This is the reality that those who want to abolish capitalism and the price system face - to us of the Marxist persuasion it is a known fact. Technocracy Inc. is no different in this aspect, it is just more easily marginalized. You can throw your hands up and try all you want to claim that you're not socialists - that what you're pushing for is different but in reality we are in the same boat together, pushing for something very similar. The ruling class to the extent they care certainly sees it and their actions tell the tale. So again, instead of fighting each other we need to seriously talk about how to face the obstacles in our path and understand the scale of what we're really talking about here. You're talking about nothing less than a total removal of the existing order.
So this is why Marxists like to talk about class and class interest in these things because it is a question of "in whose interests is it to pursue these changes?" "Whose interests it in to oppose these changes, who has a vested interests (in their mind) to maintain the status quo?" So you can see it is a very practical question because it addresses the question of agency
. That is, how can go about building a movement that make the kind of revolutionary break
from the present way of things in order to establish a post-capitalist, post-price system way of things?
Now there are certainly other things that will help us in doing this - the inherent instability and failings of the present system make things easier. Technocracy Inc. is quite right when it points out this volatility. The cycle of booms and busts, the never-ending need to generate profit, the precariousness of debt and the financial system - all these things highlight the instability of the present system. But this needs to be taken into account with other factors as well. But failure of the present system in itself isn't enough, a movement based in those whose interests it is to pursue change must be formed in order for that to happen.
I have a lot more I wanted to say on the nature of the transition phase, the uneven developments of capitalism, how new systems build from within the old and how to form a political movement with a proper mass line but this thread has gone in a different direction than I had hoped so I'll save it for now.