Technocracy: The Hard Road to World Order
By Patrick M. Wood
Published in November 2018
Thibault’s Score: 4/5
This is an absolutely fascinating read. It was written in 2018, and it is remarkably prescient. It perfectly anticipates the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Technocracy is a political movement that originated in the 1930s. The original technocracy movement advocated for the scientific management of the economy. The goal of the technocrats was to create a centrally planned economy that would be managed by engineers using scientific data. By the time of World War Two, the technocracy movement petered out. However, many of its ideas would be adopted by the economic planners of FDR’s New Deal and of the wartime economy.
This book traces how the obscure technocracy movement from the 1930s influenced modern political thinking, especially when it comes to global organizations such as United Nations, the World Economic Forum, the WTO, etc…
Many current political and economic developments are no longer being primarily driven by the nation state. Now, most policy is being driven by a loose network of international para-governmental organizations (such as the UN), think tanks (such as the Brookings Institution), NGOs (such as the World Wildlife Fund), and consulting firms (such as McKinsey and Company). Democracy and traditional means of restricting governments are being bypassed using a wide variety of complicated mechanisms, the end result being the global homogenization of all legal and regulatory mechanisms.
This book does a great job of explaining why governments no longer are responsible for policy making, and what ideas are driving this trend.
I have one major criticism: the author is very critical of technocracy. As a result, he doesn’t do a very good job of explaining the pros of technocracy, only the cons. He comes from a conservative American Christian background, and doesn’t hesitate to use words such as “un-American” to describe various ideas and policies. Although his research is very good, and his findings align with things that I have seen in my professional life, his tone will be repulsive to the overwhelming majority of readers. As a result, his credibility suffers, and this book cannot be shared with the majority of people that I know.
I wish that he had written a calm, collected, and unbiased book about technocracy. On one hand, I can find books that support technocracy. These accounts always use euphemisms and besmirch opponents as conspiracy theorists. On the other hand, I can find conservative or communist critics who are obviously biased. What I cannot find are neutral accounts that eschew euphemisms but simultaneously (at least on the surface) appear neutral.
This is the best that I have found so far, so I will probably recommend it to a limited number of friends with many caveats.
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