‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /6 (2021)

“With doctors assuming the intimate role of family adviser, mental defectives would inevitably be recognized”

by Federico Soldani – 25th Feb 2021

In describing how government will change in a technocracy, Loeb wrote: “Having suggested how a technocracy will perform the functions which it has assumed, those functions of political government which it renounces, or which will be very much changed, will be considered.” Then he examined aspects of government such as foreign trade, police duty and public sanitation (police and sanitation considered together by Loeb), the judiciary, war, and political government.


About foreign trade, Loeb noted how “if the exchange is to be made with another technocracy, or with Russia, the barter is more direct. The Russian government would be asked what it wanted from America to trade for, let us say, manganese. The energy costs of the two commodities are calculated, an hour of Russian labor being considered equal to an hour of American labor even though the American would doubtless be more productive. The only cost item about which a difference of opinion could exist would be plant depreciation. However, a committee of engineers could quickly reach an agreement. […] Then the trade would be consummated erg for erg.”


Political government assumes other functions whose nature would be transformed in a technocracy. Perhaps police duty and public sanitation are the most important of those not yet mentioned.”

“It is not known what percentage of crime can be traced back to want. It must be very great. Most criminals have warped natures due to suffering in childhood, either from their parents’ misery or their own destitution. In a technocracy these would grow up straight. Many crimes are directly impelled by hunger or cold. Such crimes also would not occur.”

“This leaves as potential criminals the mentally defective and those who from lack of control or over vehement emotion perpetrate some violent act. Both these classes would be left to the care of the state medical department.”

“A technocracy would have a sufficient surplus of human energy at its disposal to expand enormously the state sanitation work both in scope and personnel. Each branch of every industry would have its medical and psychological inspectors. Every residential community would have its corps of doctors. And doctors might have as their primary responsibility the prevention rather than the cure of illness. Some individuals consider periodical health examination an invasion of their private rights; but such invasions are not resented long.”

“Even now – Loeb continued – wealthy people of their own volition often incur more or less periodic examination. The poor, become well to do, would soon get used to doctors’ prying.”

It is only the suspiciousness of the poor, whom experience teaches to expect no good of the unknown, which makes them recalcitrant to medical advice. When food and clothing are hard to obtain, suasion to be clean sounds both gratuitous and impertinent.”

With doctors assuming the intimate role of family adviser, mental defectives would inevitably be recognized. When suspected of dangerous tendencies, their habits would be watched; when necessary their actions restrained.”

“The other kind of crime, that due to passion, can hardly be prevented. Probably life will be fuller in a technocracy, and shift of scene more feasible. The greater freedom which results from economic security may reduce that variety of suffering conductive to violent outbursts; but this cannot be guaranteed in advance. Technocracy does not pretend to abolish human suffering. Technocracy pretends to prevent only unnecessary suffering, suffering from hunger when food is rotting in the fields, suffering from pride when all respectable means of livelihood are refused, suffering from loneliness when beings equally lonely, behind a thin partition, are unavailable for the reason that our predatory system makes us suspect strangers. Men will still know hell on earth, but many more men will also know heaven.”

The problems of capitalism, according to Loeb, were “all for a fetish called the sacredness of private property, a fetish disregarded frequently for every kind of excuse except that of human happiness.”


“Judges will still be necessary. Disputes arise from the settling of which a referee is convenient. […] the judiciary will surely not be as important as it is today. […] Offenses not belonging to the doctor’s province should be much rarer. […] Arson? A case for the doctor.”

“In general, medicine and law would be directed in a technocracy toward the prevention of sickness and crime. The whole conception of punishment would undergo an overhauling. Anti-social offenses, like physical maladies, have always a cause. In a technocracy the department of state concerned with sanitation would have as its province the remedying of conditions leading to these diseases.”


About war (in the photos: Technocracy Inc. Total Conscription movement during World War II and a public meeting), Loeb wrote: “The first technocracy would not have to fear an attack. […] aeroplanes, tanks, guns, explosives, and poison gas would be turned out by mass production. […] the technocracy would send into the air swarms of aeroplanes, would direct toward the enemy regimens of tanks, would release over hostile cities clouds of gas. No nation would attack a technocracy once the technocracy had been organized. […] Otherwise the technocracy should refrain from martial thinking.”


“Another function of political government should be considered. It might be called showmanship.” – a topic already discussed in the second article of this series about Loeb’s technocratic utopia.

“It has always been important. It grew out of the original impetus which placed a man or group of men in control of a body of men. Strength of some kind obtained the initial leadership. Showmanship maintains it.”

“In times past showmanship often took the form of pomp. In fact, pomp is still an important abettor of prestige. Even the Communists take it into account if the stories of Lenin’s funeral and “canonization” are to be believed. England supports a large royal family in elaborate style. America, having discarded the older systems of showmanship, relies on the subtle strategy called democracy.”

Every citizen is given the illusion that he, no matter how small or downtrodden, is part of the show. It has worked excellently in northern countries. The Latins being more cynical and not so prone to credulity find it less effective. Some Americans believe that the people run the government. Though it is frequently pointed out that a citizen’s vote counts only when it supports one of the two major parties, and that even the published programs of such parties are nearly identical and their actual programs can seldom be told apart, many men seem to obtain a gratifying sense of power from going to the polls or from not going to the polls.”


The more successful politicians intuitively realize that showmanship is the key to their power over the public. One of them, Roosevelt, by artistically playing up this phase of his activities – by rough riding, tennis cabineting, baby petting, grimacing, advising foreign governments, big sticking, and so forth – attained such authority that he was able to quell the money powers for a moment and thus retard appreciably America’s march toward technocracy.

“I refer, of course, to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act which Roosevelt resurrected. Instead of encouraging the oil business to integrate, Roosevelt broke up the Standard Oil Trust with or without the connivance of the oil people. Consequently we have a dozen Standard Oil Companies ostensibly competing. Consequently we have millions of dollars of watered stock on which profits are sometimes earned, and haphazard exploitation of oil reserves and wasteful expensive competition in the retail field.”


“The American people, like other peoples, want showmanship in high places. The spirit of technocracy is utterly hostile to showmanship. To ask the men entrusted with running our delicate industrial mechanism to compete in showmanship with ball clouters, mug pushers, society stars, movie queens, and demagogues, would be wasteful, even dangerous.”

“The Russian Government has paid heavily for confusing its real job with emotional hang-overs borrowed from the publicity or showmanship department. In order to get the power to go to work, the Class War had to be popularized. Slogans such as “The bourgeois are strangling the workers! Throw off your chains! Let the workers own the factories!” and so forth were circulated. Of course, such nonsense has nothing to do with the inauguration of the industrial age, the event which is really taking place. […] Ownership in industry is as obsolete as feudalism. Factories are to be used, not to be possessed.

Political government is probably as out of date as the divine right of kings.”

(6 – sixth of a series, previous articles here, 12, 3, 4, and 5)

Cite this article as: Federico Soldani, "‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /6 (2021)," in PsyPolitics, February 27, 2021, https://psypolitics.org/2021/02/27/life-in-a-technocracy-1933-a-soviet-of-technicians-in-america-6-2021/.

Last Updated on March 28, 2021 by Federico Soldani

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