Technocracy vs. Communism - Page 3 - Politics | PoFo

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Trotsky was quite right on that one: The remains of the administrative apparatus once the State withers away under communism are very likely to be a lot like a technocracy, as in technicians and specialists ensuring the machines keep working, goods flow from point A to Point B and services are being provided.
Kolzene wrote:If we are to define a 'state' as: " organized political community living under a single system of government.", then since Technocracy does not use any form of political government, it is by definition a "stateless society": "...a society that is not governed by a state, or, especially in common American English, has no government." So there is no pretending involved. As for being "just managers," each person in a position of responsibility in the technical administration would by necessity have the required level of expertise in the field covered by their position. That is where the term technocracy comes from: "rule by skill."

But all communities are political and live under a system of government. I dispute that a "stateless society" is a coherent concept to begin with. Given that the technocrats would have control of the economic system, they would be state actors, since they would have to be incorporated into a bureaucratic system which defends itself and the order it has created.

It's not even plausibly horizontalist like pure communism, since it requires elites with specialist skills to engage in work that the majority cannot do, whereas communism imagines that specialization of labor must come to an end in order to have the highest stage of communist society that is truly classless. Now, certainly Marxism envisions a transitory period, but the entire point of that is that it is transitory due to the changes in the relation of society to the means of production in concert with the expansion of the productive forces.

Also, if we are going into where terms come from, then the fact that technocracy means "rule by skill", distinguishes it from rulerless anarchy (and Pure Communism by obvious extension).

Kolzene wrote:People do not pay anything for goods and services in a Technate, and there is no such thing as "energy credits". People simply consume what they want and whatever amount that is is measured in terms of energy so that the production sequences know how much of everything they need to produce for the next cycle so that there are not any shortages. The process happens out of the view of the consumer so there is no exchange taking place. That does indeed make it very different from money, and much more objective and scientific.

Ah, well that clears that up. I thought Technocracy had energy credits as the Technocracy equivalent of labor notes. This energy accounting system, even so, assumes limitless resources in order to not have to make any political decisions between different uses of raw materials. I don't really believe post-scarcity is possible, so I think the technocrats would have to compromise between increasing the supply of one product Vs another arbitrarily.

There are no value system neutral economic distributions.

Kolzene wrote:There is no causal relationship between Technocracy not being a form of government and there being no social classes. The lack of classes comes from the fact that there is no differentiation in purchasing power among the citizens.

That's not the only thing that creates a class. The technocrats have a different relationship to the means of production compared to the non-technocrat citizens. The technocrats are in control of the means of production, just as the bourgeoisie were. Ownership is not about pieces of paper, but how much control you have over a thing.

The difference in control between the technocrats and the masses is a difference in their relationship to the means of production. BLAM! Class conflict!

Kolzene wrote:Depends by what you mean by "elite" and "in charge". If by "elite" you mean some privileged class, then you are wrong. You could define it as "most qualified" and be correct however. As for "in charge", no one has any form of political power in a Technate, only the qualifications to do their job in making sure that the Technate operates as required. If one person does a better job managing a power plant than others with similar qualifications, then they are allowed to do the job. They receive no special considerations for doing so other than being allowed to do the job.

If one person does a better job than another, then who evaluates them? A council of their peers? What? You are glossing over the political decisions that would be required at every stage and would make it a government.

I'm also surprised at the positive Marxist reception here, since the idea that economic power can be separated from political power is a fundamentally anti-Marxist idea, but I guess I'll let them speak for themselves. This system appears to be a Dictatorship of the Technocrats and not of the proletariat. Marxists could imagine that they could slave the technocrats to the will of the proletariat, but then its not really Technocracy as a system in which supposedly non-political supply decisions are made by experts, with the proletariat as mere consumers.

Kolzene wrote:Not political control like you know it. They simply have the responsibility to make sure that it operates according to established requirements. They can't just do whatever they want like a CEO can.

Who decides what the established requirements are? The league of science? Democracy?

The technocrats by definition know more about the equipment than the masses, and you are giving them control over supply. How is this not inherently political? It is not conformable to just any possible government, because if you introduce democratic control over supply, you scupper the point of Technocracy in the first place, which is to have technicians modulate supply based on how people consume.

Kolzene wrote:For as long as you are not conflating politics and economics, and instead treating "left-wing" like is done with the Political Compass, then yes, Technocracy is perfectly comfortable for those of the "left" because it does centralize control of the economy for the purposes of supporting the population. If you think that left-wing means anything like being a dictatorship, then I would advise you not to conflate politics and economics, because they are different things, which is why the Political Compass is a much better description of reality than the simple left-right spectrum.

The political compass is an extremely poor indicator and I reject it. I call Technocracy right wing because it enshrines hierarchy and productive inequality very very firmly, and any humanitarian goal this services is inherently secondary due to where control is centered. Bourgeois ownership of production materially means scope for control, and the same is true here. For example; we should not consider a Fascist state more "left wing" if it doles out a Basic Income Guarantee.

Consumptive equality cannot be guaranteed without productive equality (The conditions for Pure Communism rest on both since all consume freely and all control equally), and since you have guaranteed productive inequality by setting up a system in which elite technicians have sole control of economic supply, any consumptive inequality will be inevitable, and the system will decay into state capitalism.

Now, you may counter that the technocrats are only making decisions to increase or decrease supply based on people's consumption, but without assuming post-scarcity to begin with, any outputs that share inputs require a decision on which of the outputs gets priority. Any products made of aluminium in a world of scarce aluminium require a decision as to which products should be prioritized. BLAM! Politics is knocking on your door and he's brought his friend Bureaucracy along.

If it's a system that is only supposed to operate when we have post-scarcity, then I expect you'll be waiting a long long time to have a chance at it, and by the time it becomes possible, I expect it be redundant. True post-scarcity would require some sort of overthrow of established physics. Any level of scarcity requires the political decisions about supply I detailed, which suddenly collapse Technocracy into the realm of political philosophy in which "experts" have free reign. This is Ayn Rand's Objectivism through a warped fairground mirror. Imagine if the technocrats went "Galt" if they didn't get more supply for themselves!

Long before the laws of physics are overturned and scarcity is banished to the phantom zone, we are far more likely to see the automation of labor, and as it accelerates, the requirement for experts to administer supply to be correspondingly reduced. Since technical experts themselves can be automated out of daily production processes, the control over supply can be democratic, horizontalist, and truly leftist, because instead of willful technicians in the production loop, decisions are being made by the masses and carried out by machines that are aberrant any biological evolved will, and only possess the drive for their repeated tasks (maintaining production, and mining more robots and resources at human command).

In the interim, we want engineers, computer scientists, and experts in robotics to continue to develop these possibilities (analogous to "expanding the productive forces" in Marxism), but what we do not want is a system in which they are given direct control over all production today (consider an automated army with the technocrats still in control). By the time such a thing is even thinkable as you describe, it would be rendered redundant by the automation paradigm. The scientists shall build us the robot with which we shall replace them!

(Speculative as this might be it does not, unlike "post-scarcity" require new physics).

Conclusion: Technocracy is therefore a dangerous form of state under anything less than absolute literal post-scarcity, and redundant under sufficiently advanced automation.

Kolzene wrote:Any while I do not know enough physics to understand what a "Gibbs State" is exactly (the Wikipedia article was a bit over my head), I do appreciate the reference, since Howard Scott, the inventor of Technocracy, credits J. Willard Gibbs as his technical inspiration for Technocracy. I'm going to have to look for a good explanation of a Gibb's State.

It was a pun. It's a "gibs" state because it doles out gibs, which is slang for welfare. The structure is philosophically right wing to the core, but disguises it behind a technocratic welfare state in order to ingratiate itself to socialism, which whatever its means, has as its ends, a left wing outcome.

Kolzene wrote:Although I expect that you mean this sarcastically, it is indeed true (if a bit harshly worded). They can't abuse their "control". Any time someone performs in a manner that does not "get the job done" and meet requirements, or otherwise goes against the requirements of the Technate (such as depriving people of their freedoms and/or purchasing power), then they lose their position and it is given to someone who can do the job right.

Who is in charge of the Technate?
Technology wrote:since the idea that economic power can be separated from political power is a fundamentally anti-Marxist idea

! ? ! geee ... anti-Marxist ? whatever happened to -The State- "withering away?" You do understand ? that Marxism and Communism are transitory phases ... ? Economics is not transitory. The separation of economic power from political power is one of the GOALS of communism.

Zamuel wrote:! ? ! geee ... anti-Marxist ? whatever happened to -The State- "withering away?" You do understand ? that Marxism and Communism are transitory phases ... ? Economics is not transitory. The separation of economic power from political power is one of the GOALS of communism.


The classless society only comes into being because the proletariat gain power over the economic structure. The idea that economic and political power can be separated is a right-libertarian idea, which is why you'll often hear them say that the bourgeoisie have no power to compel anyone, so all contracts and conditions are fully voluntary under free market capitalism.

The state withering is the end of political struggle, but only because the proletariat's political power over the economy is total.
Technology wrote:The state withering is the end of political struggle, but only because the proletariat's political power over the economy is total.

That's pure BS doublespeak ... there is no "political power" if the state itself ceases to exist.


1 Does Technocracy's theoretical base contain some analysis about modern market economy? Some individuals tries to refute technocracy by pointing out the absence of such analysis.

2 According K. Marx's "Capital" (,_Volume_I , 4.4 Chapter 15) -- the communist's ABC -- class struggle appears in capitalism due to an unproven statement that human needs for survival less means than he can produce. In labor accounting human heeds 6 man-hour of goods (food) per 24 hours, but capitalist (employer) uses him by 12 hours. So capitalist misappropriates difference. This employer's dishonest behavior is a reason of class struggle.

But today in market economy some individuals say that company's net income is explained by additional labor exact to K. Marx. So what technocracy can say about the nature of net income?

3 Also K.Marx writes (Capital, volume 1, 5.2 Chapter 17) that skilled labor is paid as x unskilled, x >1 . Marx writes that he doesn't know the reasons of x>1, and this proportion is set by market. Adam Smith [The Wealth of Nations, 1776] explain this by education (human must pay for education, so then he must recover money somehow. But in this case cause and effect are shuffled as not employee fixes his wage). And today some individuals say that engineer is payed in 7 times higher than minimum wage because skilled workers produces in unit time more value than unskilled ones in same unit time. Is it truth? What technocracy can say about fundamental reasons of higher wage of skilled worker in today market economy?
Kolzene wrote:it has not changed in the most important aspect, and that is that it is still a scarcity-based economy. Technocracy does not need to make comments specific to these modern changes

But even in TECHNOCRACY STUDY COURSE (1944) I did not find the source of net income. It just says that net income is difference between revenue and expenditures:
page 140 wrote:Exactly the same relationship that we have described between the consumer and the retailer exists between the retailer and the wholesaler, and between the wholesaler and the manufacturer. In each of these cases goods move from the wholesaler to the retailer when, and only when, money in the broader sense that we have defined moves from the retailer to the wholesaler, and from the wholesaler to the manufacturer. Like the retailer, the wholesaler must pay his help, his landlord, his interest, light, telephone, and miscellaneous bills. Any surplus above these can be disbursed as profits. The manufacturer must do a similar thing, for he must pay all these bills, as well as purchase his raw materials. The raw materials, as we have pointed out, are derived originally from the earth, so that the last payment made in this series is that which goes to the farmer for his produce, or, as royalties, to the owners of mineral resources.

For example some company makes some product. 2 options are available.
1 Employees got wage X, but "use value" of job was done is 1,5X. So 1,5X dollars worth of product was produced. 0,5X is net income of employer (Marx's "Surplus-Value").
2 Employees got wage X, so cost of product is X. But employer sells product by imputed price 1,5X. So he got net income of 0,5X. But in this case there is no produced equivalent for 0,5X dollars, so 0,5X dollars was made from air.
What option is right?
Kolzene wrote:There is no limit on "income" because there is an abundance of goods and services (e.g. there is more food than people can eat), but there are limits on consumption, as I've pointed out. So "income", net or otherwise, is not really a useful concept in Technocracy like it is in scarcity based systems.

I get this ... it seems to me that expansion is equivalent to or a measure of "income." Growth however should be a lot more controllable under a technocratic system and environmental stress should be avoidable. How about problems of scale ... Bureaucratic systems tend to become moribund as they get larger, eventually strangling themselves. ? ? ?

It looks like technocracy falls between communism and socialism to me and restricts it self to being a economic entity only? I was thinking wait this just sounds like a form of socialism because all that sets it apart is it taking control of the economy but then I thought its too extremist for it to be that more like a communism socialism hybrid. The fact that it renounces politics just means its departmentalized, its fair to compare it to parts of political systems even if its not going to participate in the politics that get created around it.
Technocracy is superficial, as in it must engineer the temporal reality & reorganize natural biological process. Kolzene, to select is to distort.
Kolzene wrote:Technocracy has little to do with either socialism or communism, except perhaps superficially. It stems from entirely different premises, those based in science instead of political ideology or philosophy. It doesn't "restrict" itself to only being an economic entity. It is simply the engineering solution to the scientific problem of distributing an abundance of goods and services. In the development of this solution, politics was simply deemed unnecessary, it would only be an interference.
That's funny because Capitalism seems to interfere with democracy... In a techntronic state, politics would interfere with economics. Do you see the rhetorical scandal here? Persuading people to follow Technocracy stems from language reconfiguration, in reality you're establishing refined mental constructs to institute the engineered economic system which is a form of politicking. In practice, what you are doing is no different than someone saying "Money doesn't grow on trees," well of course paper (with fancy number markings backed by a scientifically engineered system of exchange) does grow on trees, but your mental construct reconstitutes money's definition so it would appear to not grow on trees. Pure communism stems from technology, replaceable parts allow communism to exist. Henry Ford was one of the first practical communists. When you mass produce the automobile are you not applying some engineering solution to distribute an abundance of goods & services? Social networking is socialism through technology. Currency is capitalism through technology. All political systems arrive through science & engineered technologies/solutions. Education itself is a form of engineering by technicians who train populations.
First off you renamed named philosophy into science at its inception and started taking credit under a new name, to be fair I guess science tends to be a bit more practicality oriented so I will let that slide. I vaguely remember from High School that scientific method is based on the british courts procedure. Also there is another big word that science seems overlook that it owes homage to, common sense. Newton, "Apple fell on my head, stuff falls, I shall name it gravity." So I am curious who do you think could take credit for science if they wanted to and in so doing take their authority as experts. Now lets consider the process of debate and who had it first, "science" or the court, and who copied who. Now if you think science made all its progress through the scientific method, peer review and debate. "Philosophers" had debating skills in parallel to courts during Rome and I don't study history and don't know the provenance. The understanding of the world came from government method, philosophy and common sense in part. But this also creates an interesting phenomena of some of science thinking it has the potential to run government, which it kind of would because its using some of that skill and has a partial evolution of the tools.

Your argument that its not a form of government is sounds pretty similar to it will solve all political problems therefore there is no need of a government so it is not a government. Lots of people think if their solution to politics were implemented the problems would be solved, no other government would be necessary and they even take it so far as to think attempts at other forms of "government" would be a bad thing and should be stopped with force, we refer to this concept as "treason" and "revolt" in political circles. Since most of us probably resort to tarot cards and reading tea leaves for our answers, I can't imagine why you question our ability to run nations.

It reads like you do not think politics is a real science, that would make it a bunch of throwbacks from pre 16th-17th century because that is when "science" became a thing. Of course the aspirations to not be a bunch of idiots has been around far longer than that I would "assume." Just because politics in democracy is pandering to the lowest common denominator and people with no background in politics at all, doesn't make the science of politics as dumbed down as its public face. Democracy is very good at some things but it gets treated like a fix all too often. Even reads like that on this forum sometimes, have you taken democracy into your hearts yet, are you ready to accept capitalism as your savior.
In USSR there was I think highest load factor of all times . All plants was working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The wage in 1980 was ~80 rubles. And bread cost ~0,20 for 0,5 kg (2500 kcal/kg). Hence, citizen received 500000 kcal/month. So citizen was not worried about food. It correlates with mean of abundance.

Soviet planned economy had not control of demand , therefore deficit of goods was usual and permanent. But almost valid Technate was established, the only thing communists had to do was finishing of demand control.

What lessons did Technocracy learn from USSR collapse? So people lived almost in abundance. But suddenly they decided they needed independence. They got independence , but instantly fell into havoc .
Kolzene wrote:Technocracy has little to do with either socialism or communism, except perhaps superficially. It stems from entirely different premises, those based in science instead of political ideology or philosophy. It doesn't "restrict" itself to only being an economic entity. It is simply the engineering solution to the scientific problem of distributing an abundance of goods and services. In the development of this solution, politics was simply deemed unnecessary, it would only be an interference.

This is all quite sensible and realistically practical ... My thought is that if communism matured and achieved it's goals, then withered away as an unnecessary anachronism, what you have left would be technocracy ?

Politics is the generation and manipulation of a consensus, generally to focus wealth or control. In the abundance of a technocracy, "wealth" could only be achieved by artificial depravation. This seems an unlikely consensus ? Control implies the implementation of a dynamic ... and the only one I can envision to be applicable would be the choice to either seek excess production to expand with or maintain only sufficient production to support the status quo. ?

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