Timeline of the technocracy movement

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Time period Development summary More details
1930s-1940s Rise of the Technocratic Movement The Technocratic movement gains prominence in the 1930s and 1940s, especially during the Great Depression. Howard Scott emerges as a key figure and the main face of the movement. The movement aimes to establish a North American technocratic government called the "Technet."[1]
Post-1970 Decline of the movement The popularity of the technocratic movement declines after the 1970s. The movement falls into obscurity, and interest wanes, particularly as economic prosperity increases in the Americas.[1]
21st century Modern relevance In the present day, the technocratic discourse remains pertinent, as the text implies that concerns raised by technocrats, including the influence of capitalism on technological advancement, warrant contemporary examination. Contrary to the past vision, there is currently no realization of a technocracy, emphasizing that the envisioned governing system did not come to fruition. As of 2013, the movement endures, with smaller groups like the Technical Alliance, The New Machine, and the Utopian Society of America still active.

Full timeline

Year Event type Details
4th Century BCE Prelude Plato proposes a form of government where philosophers, trained in advanced reasoning, govern—an early form of technocracy.[2]
1561–1626 Prelude Francis Bacon lives. He advocates for knowledge of nature's mechanisms and technical means as beneficial for government.[3]
1802 Prelude Henri de Saint-Simon proposes a European executive committee of scientists and artists for societal progress. He outlines technocratic principles, emphasizing the role of science and industry over politics.[4]
1820 Literature Saint-Simon publishes L'Organisation, which introduces a technocratic organization with legislative and executive powers, involving engineers, scientists, and industry representatives.[5]
1919 William Henry Smyth, an inventor and social reformer from California, first coins the term "technocracy".[6]
1919 Organization Howard Scott, who would be called the "founder of the technocracy movement"[7], starts the Technical Alliance in New York, with mostly scientists and engineers as members. The Technical Alliance started an Energy Survey of North America, which aims to provide a scientific background from which ideas about a new social structure could be developed.[8] However the group would break up in 1921[9] before the survey is completed.[10]
1921 The Technical Alliance breaks up before completing the Energy Survey of North America.
1921 Literature American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen publishes Engineers And The Price System.[11]
Post-1929 Persecution of engineers in the Soviet Union forces them to focus on narrow technical issues assigned by communist party leaders. Alexander Bogdanov's concept of Tectology, resembling technocratic ideas, anticipates a revolution against capitalism leading to a technocratic society.
1931–1932 M. King Hubbert, a young geophysicist, moves from Chicago to be an instructor at Columbia University. Hubbert meets Howard Scott in New York, becomes most impressed by his ideas and seeks to give them a more firm scientific basis. Hubbert pays Scott's back rent, moves in with him, and sets about reestablishing something like the old Technical Alliance, an attempt that would culminate in the Energy Survey of 1932.[12]
1932 By late year, various groups across the United States call themselves technocrats and propose reforms.[13]
1932 Howard Scott and others interested in technological growth meet in New York City, leading to the formation of the "Committee on Technocracy" at Columbia University. The movement gains national attention.
1933 Organization In January, the "Committee on Technocracy" splinters into two groups: the "Continental Committee on Technocracy" and "Technocracy Incorporated."
1933 The Continental Congress organizes a technocratic conference in Chicago at the World's Fair.
1933 The Technocracy Movement essentially ends.[6]
1933 American editor Hugo Gernsback, the author of the term "science-fiction", and publisher of Science Wonder Stories, publishes the Technocracy Review for a short time during this year.[14]
1933 The Technocrats report that "Technology has now advanced to a point where it has substituted energy for man-hours on an equal basis".[12]
1934 (September) Publication A mimeographed bulletin called the Technocracy Digest starts publication.[14]
1934 Literature Technocracy inc. produces Science Versus Chaos by Howard Scott, which is the text of his concluding speech at the ill-fated Continental Convention on Technocracy. This pamphlet is distributed by Scott on his continent-wide tour, and would go through several printings.[14]
1934 Literature The Technocracy Study Guide is produced by Technocracy Inc. Initially a mimeograph form and later in a hardcover volume, it would be reprinted a number of times. Technocracy: Some Questions Answered, is another important piece of literature by the group.[14]
1936 The faction-ridden Continental Committee on Technocracy collapses.
1937 Technocracy, Inc. releases further details on its plan to replace money with energy certificates. Energy certificates would be issued, the total amount of which would "represent the total amount of net energy converted in the making of goods and provision of services."[12]
1937 Specific predictions about the collapse of the Price System are made, but it doesn't happen as anticipated.
1938 Technocracy Inc. defines its proposal as the science of social engineering, emphasizing the scientific operation of the entire social mechanism to produce and distribute goods and services across North America. It declares the abandonment of politics, finance, and the existing price system in favor of a scientific approach. The proposal insists that the potential abundance necessitates a shift from artificial scarcity to scientific production and distribution. The vision includes a certificate of distribution for every citizen and envisions the Technate covering the entire American Continent from Panama to the North Pole.
1939 Scott tell his audiences that Technocracy is expanding so fast, "...that before long neither Canada nor the U.S. could discuss war without permission of this organization."[14]
1940 Due to opposition to World War II, the Technocracy movement is banned in Canada. Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrest members of Technocracy Incorporated.
1943 The ban in Canada is lifted as Technocracy Inc. shows support for the war effort.
1946-1947 Speaking tours in the US and Canada, including a motorcade from Los Angeles to Vancouver.
1948 Decline in activity and internal dissent due to the non-collapse of the Price System.
Post-1948 Membership and activity decline, but some persistence observed, especially around Vancouver and the West Coast of the United States.
1970 Howard Scott dies, and is succeeded as Continental Director by John T. Spitler.[12]
2013 The Technocracy movement survives, publishing newsletters, maintaining a website, and holding member meetings. Technocracy Incorporated continues to distribute a monthly newsletter and holds membership meetings.

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External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Technate: A Future North American Superpower?". youtube. Retrieved 2 March 2024. 
  2. French Wikipedia
  3. French Wikipedia
  4. French Wikipedia
  5. French Wikipedia
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Technocracy Movement | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 31 August 2022. 
  7. Peter J. Taylor. Technocratic Optimism, H.T. Odum, and the Partial Transformation of Ecological Metaphor after World War II Journal of the History of Biology, Vol. 21, No. 2, June 1988, p. 213.
  8. "Questioning of M. King Hubbert, Division of Supply and Resources, before the Board of Economic Warfare" (PDF). 1943-04-14. Retrieved 2008-05-04. p8-9 (p18-9 of PDF)
  9. William E. Akin (1977). Technocracy and the American Dream: The Technocracy Movement 1900-1941, University of California Press, p. 37.
  10. William E. Akin (1977). Technocracy and the American Dream: The Technocracy Movement 1900-1941, University of California Press, pp. 61-62.
  11. "The Engineers and the Price System". Routledge & CRC Press. Retrieved 4 March 2024. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Berndt, Ernst R. "From technocracy to net energy analysis" (PDF). dspace.mit.edu. Retrieved 31 August 2022. 
  13. Beverly H. Burris (1993). Technocracy at work State University of New York Press, p. 30.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 "The technocrats 1919-1967 - Summit Research Repository" (PDF). summit.sfu.ca. Retrieved 31 August 2022.