Other Names:
Technocratic leadership
Machine technocracy
Organized cult of machinery
Inappropriate technocratic shortcuts
Technocratic futurism
Technological fixes
Technocratic consciousness

A tendency towards the transfer of management and control of production and society from the people and politicians to an intelligentsia of engineers and technicians, and to management specialists allegedly acting as the chief driving forces of progress. The clash between democratic and technocratic methods and priorities is not just a matter of style. It is at the root of the nature of self-government. Too little attention to particular interests is incompatible with democracy, whereas too much is incompatible with reform. Technocrats tend to favour centralized planning over the incrementalism characteristic of democratic decision-making.

When faced with an apparently intractable human problem, the habitual technocratic response is to seek the building of a technological system or artefact. The superficiality of this thinking in the information age limits solutions to the level of gadgetry rather than allowing the more fundamental nature of the problem to be confronted, acknowledging its complexity and difficulty, recognizing the need for progress at a more human level. Yet, not only are such solutions attractive to policy makers, by virtue of their superficiality, but this very quality also leads them to de-emphasize their associated costs.


The range of problems that technology once proved so powerful in overcoming is diminishing in terms of its importance. The problems against which technology has proved relatively unsuccessful are those that have a fundamental human basis making it difficult for technology to address directly. A reflexive resort to technocratic thinking in these circumstances is especially dangerous and tends to be symptomatic of conceptual displacement activity.

Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Date of last update
21.12.2017 – 18:07 CET