technocracy (Greek τεχνοκρατία - rule of the technology) designated - often in the devaluing sense - a government of specialists and experts. For technokratische governments the adjustment of their decisions (exclusive) at scientific-technologic arguments and specific obligations is characteristic. The rational, effective planning and execution of goal-oriented projects are the center of attention. While the attention concentrates completely on means and ways, the meaning of democratic will formation and political decision-making processes is reduced regarding the choice of social goals.

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characteristics of the technocracy are:


the term were coined/shaped in the exit of the First World War in the USA, whereby concepts of the American sociologist were trailblazing Thorstein Veblen. Veblen argued that engineers should take over the line of each state, since they are best suitable, to serve cybernetic systems.

The fundamental conception is however much older. Already Plato sketched the picture of the philosopher king, who directs the fate of the community by its outstanding knowledge best. As technokratische utopias can be considered also the “sun state” from Thomas Campanella (1602) or “new Atlantis” from Francis Bacon (1627). With the industrialization the technokratische utopia won in 19. Century a new, closer-to-reality coinage. Henri de Saint Simon and its pupil Augusts Comte formulated society drafts, in which a nearly unrestricted rule right came in the sense of the positivism to the instrumental reason.

Conception represented by Veblen, in addition, for instance of walter Rathenau toward end of the First World War, engineers would administer, are the public interest best both into the context of a fundamental crisis of capitalism to engage and to the Russian revolution refer. The technocracy of intermediate wartime, itself in the USA under Howard the Scott as “Technocracy Inc.” to a political party consolidated, understood themselves as “the third way” between capitalism and socialism. Important ideologists of the national socialism such as Gottfried feather/spring took up technokratisches ideas in this sense. Certainly technokratische elements are also deeply in the Soviet modernization project verwurzelt, like it Lenin on VIII. Congress of Soviet 1920 sketched (“communism - that is Soviet power plus electrification of the whole country”). And also the US-American “new Deal” under Roosevelt can be interpreted as technokratisches project.

To the 1950er-Jahren the technocracy topic was taken up in particular to France by Jean Meynaud and Jacques Ellul, which deplored the loss of worth-oriented action options in view of a self-dynamically developing technology. In Germany Helmut Schelsky with same intention stepped out. Into the 1960er-Jahren, constructing on the criticism of the instrumental reason of max Horkheimer placed themselves, in particular harsh ore Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas against the arrogance of a technocracy. Also Hermann Lübbe wrote substantial contributions to the topic.

technocracy definitions

the technocracy problem points far beyond his developing connection. If it asks for the relationship of scientific-technologic Rationalität and modern nationalness, it is a very ambivalentes topic, whose topicality until today exists. Three definition levels are to be differentiated:

1. Technocracy as rule of the technicians. Political power legitimized by knowledge and expert's assessment (in the scientific-technologic sense of the European clearing-up) 2. Technocracy as rule of the technology. The political action area as sphere of normative decisions is reduced in the course of the mechanization increasingly. Technology goes out of control (Langdon Winner) and brings finally the range of the political one altogether to disappearing. 3. Technocracy as rule of the instrumental reason. A specific way of thinking, which is helpful to the capitalistic structure of industry, directs social actions within all ranges of social activity.

From these three definition samples three theory traditions are derived, which possess a approving-utopian in each case or reject katastrophischen character:

1. Elite theories, which think an arising out of a fachkompetenten expert class in positive or negatively rating way. After Plato, Saint Simon and Veblen for instance Alfred freshness swore to the Potenzial of a pure expert government as desirable vision of the future. Rejecting however in particular Jean Meynaud, later also to the perspective placed itself Daniel Bell and John Kenneth Galbraith that experts could take an accented position of power as knowledge carriers in the developing information society.

2. Structure theories, which to the self-dynamics of the technical development in positive or negatively rating way an immense Wirkungspotenzial attributes on the society. Hopes, social problems are positively formulated by the technsichen progress were generic term-oiled. Such a argumentation structure is in the writings of Lenin. In addition, similarly the argumentation of Bill Gates , in “The Road Ahead” 1995 the new information and communication technologies, functions to that v.a. , the ability to the Internet awarded to realize a “friction-free” capitalism. The negative versions of the structure theory are Legion. They deplore the liberty loss, on which modern humans have to count because of the increasing mechanization of its environment. Particularly effective were the formulations of Jacques Ellul, Helmut Schelsky and Herbert Marcuse.

3. Ideology criticisms, which refer the rule of the instrumental reason to the capitalistic structure of industry. Most important voice in this choir was Jürgen Habermas (technology and science as “ideology”, 1969.

further ones technocracy-critical voices

beside harsh ore Marcuse are or were in Germany Günther differently, God hard Günther, Erich pious or Hermann Lübbe prominent critics of the technocracy mash, international have themselves among other things , Or up-to-date to Noam Chomsky (Corporate Fascism, [1]) in critical way expressed George Orwell (technocracy is preliminary stage of fascism, in its essays over fascism) over the technocracy, see also society criticism, Dystopie, Cyberpunk.

In the 68er - movement was taken up this criticism at the technocracy on broad basis, against-placed to the technocracy and with their connected rational specific obligation thinking by artists and intellectual ones for example concepts such as subjectivity, the individual desire , self implementation and democratization ( up to the restaurant economics, see May 68).


  • the technology can promote authoritarianism just as as liberty, the lack as well as the abundance, which expansion of heavystar-pickle like their abolishment. The national socialism is a striking example of how a high-rationalized and through-mechanized economic system can function lack extended by highest productivity in the interest of from totalitarian suppression and. (...)
  • Around the real meaning of these changes to understand, it is necessary to give a short overview over the traditional Rationalität and over the forms of the individuality, which are dissolved on the present stage of the machine time age. The human individual, whom the Vorkämpfer of the civil revolution had raised to the germ cell as for the highest purpose of the society, represented value conceptions, which contradict obviously those, which control the society today. (Harsh ore Marcuse)


  • Günther differently: The antiquatedness of humans. Over the soul in the age of the second industriellen revolution [volume I] (Vlg. C.H. Beck), ISBN 3-406-47644-9 - (Erstpublikation 1956).
  • Thorstein Veblen: The Engineers and the Price system, 2. Edition, New York 1961 (1. Edition 1921)
  • Martin Heidegger: The question about the technology, essay by 1966
  • Klaus thrust ore: Politics in the “technocracy”. To some aspects of contemporary culture crisis theory., Campus publishing house, 1981
  • Jörg Berkemann, Gunter Gebauer (Hrsgb.): Technocracy as ideology. Socialphilosophical contributions to a political dilemma., Stuttgart 1973
  • Neil Postman: The Technopol. The power of the technologies and incapacitating the society., Fischer, 1992
  • Erich pious: The revolution of hope. For a humanization of the technology., Ullstein, 1981
  • Brigitte strain: Between Democracy and Technocracy. The Role OF expert's assessment for the European Parliament., Ibidem publishing house, 2003
  • Raimund shopkeepers: Topic: Technocracy. Berlin: Berlin debate. , Science publishing house, 1998
  • Pietro Morandi: Technocracy. Of the finiteness of a vital concept. Berlin: Berlin debate., Science publishing house, 1998
  • Axel Görlitz, Hans Peter Burth: Political control. A study book., Opladen: Leske + Budrich, 1995
  • Don Karl Rowney: Transition ton technocracy. The structural origins OF the Soviet administrative state, Cornell University press, 1989
  • Gottfried Rickert: Technocracy and democracy. To the technocracy problem in the state theory including the European right., Frankfurt/Main, 1983.

see also

need, technology, technical progress, technology assessment, technique philosophy, beautiful one new world, modern trend times, social psychology, Social engineering (society science), to Social marketing, cybernetics, Governance, lobbyism

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