Benjamin Abbott: What We Can Learn From the 1930s Technocracy Movement

In a recent piece for IEET, Benjamin Abott argues that while the 1930s technocracy movement provides an instructive critique of capitalism, it also reveals that technological progress alone is not enough to put an end to scarcity.

“If wielded prudently, Technocracy’s extreme reduction of human beings to machines with energy inputs and outputs constitutes a fruitful thought experiment. As sketched above, the ideal here obliterates assertions of capitalism’s efficiency. At best proponents can retreat to the stance that capitalism is least bad among a lineup of stinkers…

“…the Technocracy movement indicates that we need not wait for nanofactories and artificial general intelligence to terminate human want. The technical ability to create abundance of the basics has been around since the dawn of the twentieth century if not much earlier. Building a post-scarcity society requires political struggle and isn’t likely to happen on its own. There’s no guarantee that increasingly potent productive technology will lead to distributed plenty. As the current intellectual property rights regime demonstrates, governments can manufacture scarcity through coercion.”

The full article is here.

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