Science: Technocrat

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His next recordable appearance is in 1920 as director of the Technical Alliance a loose organization for the discussion of social implications of the Machine Age. The late Charles Proteus Steinmetz and Thorstein Veblen were members. Other, living ones, are Stuart Chase, Frederick Lee Ackerman (Manhattan architect), Bassett Jones (Manhattan elevator engineer). They erroneously believed Howard Scott a doctor of science from the Technische Hochschule, at Charlottenburg, Germany. The interlocutions of the Technical Alliance languished. But Howard Scott, in Greenwich Village, prated and ratiocinated.

Two years ago Walter Rautenstrauch, professor of industrial engineering at Columbia University and extra curricula a commercial industrialist, gave Howard Scott a room at Columbia, told him to put the Technosocial ideas on record.

Thus the Technical Alliance was transmogrified into Technocracy and Howard Scott, Greenwich Village character, pupated into the Technocrat. He moved his living quarters from the Village to the district called Chelsea, a half-mile closer to Columbia University. That his father made money in Constantinople or that he himself "built the Manchurian Railroad" or was born in Virginia or arrived in the U. S. by swimming from a liner from which he had jumped are typical of statements made by people who say that they are friends of the No. 1 Technocrat and that they "have heard."

Technocracy. To theorists like Messrs. Rautenstrauch, Jones, Ackerman and Chase, technocracy is a serious effort to collate facts which may show whither industrial civilization is moving. To thousands of discontented technicians employed (or discharged) by oil. lumber, automotive and other industries whose wealth they envy, Technocracy is the hope of a new economic deal. To I. W. W.'s. with whom Howard Scott was once associated, Technocracy is a new lever against Capitalism. Each man sees in Technocracy what he wishes for and Howard Scott, Technocracy's spokesman, breathes fog upon their mirrors.

Technocracy presumes that all the wealth and functions of Society can be calculated in terms of energy unity—British Thermal Units, kilogramme calories, joules, ergs, footpounds, horsepower. Upon that presumption was started the "Energy Survey of North America," in which one man's time for eight hours is considered equal to 1,500,000 footpounds. Technocracy headquarters, which now has few cartographers at work, has energy charts of about 50 U. S. industries ready for display, talks about 300 charts too significant for revelation, promises 3,000 charts eventually.

The charts, say the Technocrats, show or will show that the present price system will not work. What will work is a world managed by Technocrats wherein everyone does an equal and rather small amount of work (say 12½ hours a week for 20 years) and enjoys an equal and very large income—in goods provided by the state or obtained by an exchange of "erg" tokens.

How this transformation from dollar economy to energy economy is to come about, Howard Scott never explains. Says he at times: "Technocracy proposes no solution." At other times he silences questions with a pontifical belch.

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