‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /7 (2021)

“If technocracy should be successful, and when its success had become accepted even by the individual’s subconscious mind, religion might undergo a metamorphosis

by Federico Soldani – 1st Mar 2021

Technocracy is a technique of material living. It is merely a system for making and sharing the goods man has at his disposal, both the goods freely tendered by nature, such as grazing land, and the goods that require more or less effort to produce. Nevertheless, a change in the technique of material living affects every manifestation of the human spirit.”

After talking about how a technocratic regime would affect the external world and in particular the form and functions of government and its radically transformed political dimension, Harold Loeb described in chapter V on ‘Religion, Education, and Amusement’ and especially in the following chapter VI on ‘Art’ how the internal world – a distinction he makes in his techno-utopia – would be modified in turn.

“Not only would the concept of property and the incentive to effort be different in a technocracy” – Loeb wrote – “but religion, education, amusement, art, sport, culture, and every other human institution and expression would undergo transformations more or less radical. […] The only certainties are that technocracy, in so far as it releases men from economic bondage, will allow them to devote more time and energy to other pursuits.”


“Whether one thinks organized religion is as obsolete as political government or the dodo, or whether one thinks religion is a sustaining, eternal power for good, religion will not disappear with the advent of technocracy. Russian Communists expend much energy in trying to uproot traditional religion and to inculcate their own brand. They may or may not be well advised. In any case the situation differs there from that in America.”

“In Russia the Greek Catholic church was powerful, its institutions were rallying points of reaction. In America the fundamental faith is the Mysticism of Money. Though the churches uphold it fervently, and their own traditional religion of resignation more dubiously, technocracy need not destroy organized religion in order to destroy the Mysticism of Money. This latter faith with all its ramifications is automatically demolished by the cancellation of the exchange medium. One cannot maintain an ethic on a transient certificate of service entitling the possessor to a certain quantity of energy. Ethics requires at least the illusion of eternality. Ethics deprived of the immortal dollar might again interest itself primarily in spiritual values.”

“Technocracy, if it had anything to say on the subject [of moral and other values, ed.], would say: ‘Do that which is good for you.’ Its only prohibition would be acts definitely anti-social. Thus force could not be exerted by one individual on another. Property other than personal, which is strictly limited, could not be destroyed on a whim, or for gain as at present, and so forth. […] But most of mankind feel quite violently about certain inherited taboos.”

“The subscribers [to a church, ed.] might wish to gather together in buildings for communal professions of faith and for surveying each other’s actions. Such surveillance seems to fill a certain type of individual with pleasurable excitement. Thus, during the intermediate period, while humanity was learning to cope with a superfluity of leisure, the churches would help relieve the tension.”

“It is probable that religions would flourish, at least at first. During the period in which the nature of man was adjusting itself to economic security and a superabundance of leisure, emotional needs would doubtless be rampant. Religious devotion is probably a satisfactory emotional outlet for the average person. Only the few are capable of aesthetic or intellectual creation and of sustained sexual satisfaction. For others the communal hysteria aroused by religious fanaticism does very well. Individuals with mystic visions, genuine or faked, would probably circulate though the land uplifting subdued spirits, and distracting the unimaginative from their querulous plaints. […] Like political government, religious institutions, divorced of coercive power, would be incapable of hurting society.”

If technocracy should be successful, and when its success had become accepted even by the individual’s subconscious mind, religion might undergo a metamorphosis. When man’s bugbears, hunger and disease, shall have been exorcised and some happiness made realizable, religion, always sensitive to the needs of contemporary society, might very well turn from the inculcation of resignation to the encouragement of joy.”

“A church could acquire no wealth since x-ergs cannot be transferred. […] As with all ownership, the possession of an edifice would, in a technocracy, depend on use.”

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

Cite this article as: Federico Soldani, "‘Life in a Technocracy’, 1933: a soviet of technicians… in America? /7 (2021)," in PsyPolitics, March 1, 2021, https://psypolitics.org/2021/03/01/life-in-a-technocracy-1933-a-soviet-of-technicians-in-america-7-2021/.

Last Updated on March 28, 2021 by Federico Soldani

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