Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Monday, January 26, 2015

No True Technocrat

Today Paul Krugman wrote this (in the course of criticizing poor policy-making by EU officials):

This is one reason it irks me when the people who have been running Greece, or those in Brussels, are described as “technocrats.” Crat me no techno — real technocrats would (and did) warn about the downside of austerity, not seize eagerly on faddish research purporting to make a case for policies they probably wanted for other reasons.

Now, I recognize that Krugman is fighting about macroeconomics, not about the role of technocracy in society.  If he were actually debating the merits of technocracy vs. democracy or whatever, he would presumably express himself differently.

But - but! - I think this is a pretty good illustration of the way people often think about technocracy.  Technocrats are not just empowered bureaucrats, they are the good guys, the smart guys, the ones with white lab coats.  They are people like us.  So you see, there's nothing dangerous about technocracy at all.  When technocrats engineer a multi-year, staggeringly painful recession, then obviously they were never technocrats to begin with.  Because no true technocrat could do such a thing.


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