..at the moment, due to the suggestion that they might run some economies. Since a technocrat is someone who is expert in an area and bases their decisions on evidence why is it preferable to have decisions made by inexpert idiots who are inumerate and make decisions based on ideology? I can't help noticing that Germany's big companies have boards dominated by scientists, engineers, and economists, whereas ours are dominated by Binky, Snorker and Rupert who know fuck all about fuck all, other than where to get a good wine and what school you are from. Is it me?!
It has amazed me the amount of stick that "technocrats" are getting..
(17 posts) (10 voices)
It's not you Al, it's everybody else.
The world is mad. And stupid.
The problems come when the technocrats are, or were, in the pay of the EU...
I feel a bit of a rant coming on. I just love it too when some populist politician 'cks up an entire department/ministry on the basis of some idealogy or other. See how grateful are the experienced profesionals involved. Slapping their foreheads and wondering aloud just why they hadn't seen the politician's glaringly obvious solution to the economy/ addiction/ crime/ child abuse /healthcare / housing shortage /etc / [insert as appropriate].
Oh! I thought Kraftwerk had seized control of Europe.
Although they're more into Kraut Rock than Technokraut.
I think the key phrase in the definition of technocrat may be the one that is missing about their selection "ostensibly without the influence of special interest groups". Most of these guys are ex EU and Goldman Sachs. Now, maybe that is a good thing as they know how these bodies work, but there is something sinister about the notion that a whole body of leaders who have been schooled by and led these organisations could be drafted in without democratic elections to carry on their agenda. A corporate agenda is just as worrying as a political one, and who says that other technocrats actually agree with these guys in their solutions? At least with democracy, it's your own fault for electing/failing to prevent the election of a Bush, Berlusconi or (insert your personal bugbear here).
Interesting viewpoint Quaz, the trouble is how to reconcile the essentials of democracy with getting the job done efficiently and effectively, based on evidence - would you, for example, elect someone who wanted to stand for local GP? They say they have some great crystals that will cure anything? Risible example perhaps, but not much of a stretch to some of the ideological fixes offered by parties appealling to populist sentiment.
I don't buy the "hell in a handcart of our own choosing" argument much, we can be more intelligent than that surely?
I agree Al; the politicos don’t, generally, impose ideology on the military, preferring to leave warfare to the generals (perhaps through fear of what might happen if we actually 'lost' a war), but every other aspect of national life is a political football to be kicked about for the sake of garnering the floating vote. Healthcare, education, housing, economic policy, planning law, the welfare state, all of them subject to constant interference and manipulation according to the whim of political doctrine, with short-termism built into the structure because the idiots can’t or daren’t plan beyond the next election.
This really serves to underline how complex politics is. A basic conflict between idealism and pragmatism, with a whole load of greed and other hidden agendas thrown in. There are enough elements in the equation as there are people involved. All the same I think Al has a good point - even though the technocrats involved may have their own agendas. It's the old thing about democracy being a crap system, but the alternatives are so much worse.
And even when you get down to allegedly pure motivations like doing something for the good of your country, patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
So it's complicated, and you can't win. No wonder voters feel disenfranchised. Another thing to bear in mind is that however people get control of their country, there is always the tendency for power to corrupt.
And on a slightly different tack, there was a great quote on Thought for the Day the other week.
"Under capitalism, man exploits man; under communism, it is the other way around."
This reminded me of this page I managed to wander into (and out very quickly) the other day.
If you know anything about the American Neo-cons you'll know they have their own version of Wikipedia called 'Conservapedia'.
This page is a load of old bollocks highlighting the cases where 'everyman' types managed to show those Harvard/Oxford educated boffins a thing or two.
Have a look around the rest of the site but don't stay too long, your IQ will plummet.
And what a spectacular success Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler made of appointing their own technocrats to run countries and empires (Sarcasm implied, but I realise I have just lost the argument by default due to internet rule 101 of "don't bring Nazi Germany into it").
Technocrats are not devoid of a point of view, political parties pick those they like and we get the chance to vote for the party we want and they appoint the technocrats they like. You can argue that the technocrats get their programs cut short by the politiciancs and that is a fair point, but I wouldn't choose to have one insurance company pick my best car insurence deal for life. I want a say in it every year. Personally, I believe that no one party or clique should be allowed to get it's feet too far under the table, keep the twisters on their toes. As HST said about his local sheriff department "We live in an active balance of terror".
Just to note, that all the "technocrats" I know (ie, professors, doctors, well informed & well educated experts) have strong political ideologies of their own - well, they're intelligent, so why wouldn't they ?
So, Italy now has a bunch of unelected, opinionated nerds in charge. I've nothing against nerds, being one myself, but I wouldn't want a government run by a small number of us! Nor a government run by a small number of elected bigots for that matter.
Just to clarify - I am not advocating wholesale handing over of State executive decision making to technocrats, although there are examples where this works. What I object to is ideology trumping evidence in decision making. Classification of drugs might be a good one here - Prof Nutter (what a gift to the tabloid Press that was) and his committee suggested a re-ordering of drug classification based on evidence. The politicians didn't like it - that's fine, but the politcal class went beyond "we don't like it and think it is not in the public interest" to "it isn't true". Wrong.
So if the question is how do we get economy G (for example) out of the basket, if we base that on ideology rather than evidence we don't stand a chance of succeeding.
Quaz - don't think Lenin was given much of a chance, and Hitler and Stalin were barking mad.
I know Al, I just thought I'd save time and take the discussion to it's illogical extreme.
I suppose if you wanted to find a positive example of non democratic govt, then you might cite the British coalition govt 1940-45, but they were pretty diverse and had a big motivating and unifying target. Plus, Churhill gave up the game ASAP. If we'd gone straight into a shooting war with the USSR things might have gone a bit more Orwell.
Now there's a thought, Orwell as a benevalent dictator.
would he have lived at 101 Downing Street?
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