Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Friday, June 5, 2020 04:10:26 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Opinion

Elections and the technocratic ideology

By
09th-Sep-2014       
Share
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Erick Vasconcelos :
People who vote for politicians such as Brazilian presidential candidate Aecio Neves, as well as many of his party's supporters (the Social Democracy Brazilian Party, PSDB), are often dumbfounded when they find out how unappealing ideas of "efficiency" in the public sector, "management shock," and "professionalization" in government are to a large sector of the population. It's a moderately widespread idea, also spearheaded in the Pernambuco state government (more as a campaign bullet point than real actions) by Eduardo Campos, who died on August 12. The belief is that there is - or at least should be - a vital separation between the public administration and politics; between ideology and efficiency. However, the idea of professionalizing politics, putting "technicians" in government positions, and "managing" public affairs like ordinary organizations in society is, in itself, deeply ideological.
And it isn't one of the youngest ideologies: Thorstein Veblen talked about his technocracy of engineers in the 1920s. Veblen, in his well-known The Engineers and the Price System described engineers ("technicians") as the class capable of promoting the principles of "scientific management" for production - as opposed to a system of market production with effective price signaling. Veblen didn't have any problems with the corporate organization and intended to universalize its model as the foundation of society, eliminating technical limitations to what he termed "industrial values," which were connected to productive efficiency (and had nothing to do with, and indeed were opposed to, market incentives).
Veblenian championed his ideas on industry and technique as the starting point of the mass production society he envisioned. That society and its values would give rise, through industrial workers, to a new democracy with a new management style that promoted efficiency, technical knowledge and administration. That is, a machine perfectly adjusted to the control and regulation of society.
This dystopian ideal was able to find adherents and modify itself slightly during the 20th century, especially in the works of managerial progressives such as Joseph Schumpeter and John Kenneth Galbraith. Nowadays, we hear it from politicians who may think they speak with the voice of innovation when they say that specialists should fill government positions. It's also a convenient ideology for a number of bureaucrats because it doesn't ask whether such government positions should exist at all, but only who should fill them. It's not about being governed or not, it's about who is going to do the governing. Who would we want to sit on the Iron Throne if not a "specialist?" Someone who wouldn't be driven by politico-ideological passions, but by the "industrial values" Veblen cherished. Someone to oil up the gears of this great machinery that is society.
That is all hogwash, of course, because when we talk about politics, we talk about ideology - about prioritizing, about choosing one collective goal as preferable to another. However, there are no macro social ends, at least not apart from a sum of individual goals or as a mere metaphor. Which is also the reason why it isn't possible to put public management under the control of experts, because the very definition of what constitutes "public management" is an ideological question subject to political negotiation and resistance.
It's impossible to remove ideology from government because government is an ideology: The ideology of power, control and suppression of dissidence. The ideology of conformity, of the macro-social, of the idea of society as an abstraction, never reducible to its individual components.
Governing, far from an activity without ideology and plans, is the stitching of majority plans within hierarchy. It's no wonder that anarchist movements have historically tended to horizontalism and consensus-building as strategies to avoid the formation of majorities and bureaucratic power structures. These ideas of horizontalism are intended to mitigate the effects of particular ideologies when applied to the collective. In contrast, technocracy looks like a form of enlightened despotism with its attempt to rationalize processes. Of course, it's a positive thing that socially desirable processes should be efficient and demand less resources - but we must first know which ones are the socially desirable processes. They're not a given.
It's somewhat ironic that lifelong politicians are the biggest (and maybe the most cynical) proponents of the technocratic creed. Aecio Neves himself, despite his claims of technical prowess in administration, is a specialist in one thing only: Getting positions in the government. He's been the director of a large state bank, secretary of the presidency, deputy, governor, senator.
It may be the case that Aecio Neves nowadays is a puppet of the narrative he's built for himself, replicating it as a hostage of his own rhetoric. Because Aecio has never been a technician; the technicians are the arms that execute his political plans.

(Erick Vasconcelos is a contributing author at the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Education needs more allocation in budget to adapt with the new normal


A recent study revealed that the closure of educational institutions due to the coronavirus pandemic, dropout rates will increase significantly at schools which will subsequently cause a rise in child marriage, early pregnancy and child labour. Educationists demanded more budgetary allocation for education sector as part of two/three-year-long Covid-19 response ...

Cricket »

Spinners have chance to shine during saliva ban: Kumble


Cricket chief Anil Kumble hopes a ban on using saliva to shine the ball after the coronavirus shutdown could see a resurgence of spin bowling in Test cricket.The International Cricket Council is expected to order a temporary ban next week on using spit as a shining agent, as part of ...

Entertainment »

Runa Laila getting response for her composed two songs


Entertainment Report :At the end of last year, internationally renowned singer Runa Laila’s two songs were released in two separate YouTube channels. She lent her vocal for a song while noted Indian singer Asha Bhosle rendered another song. In last year November, Runa Laila composed her second song titled Ferate ...

Entertainment »

Nora Fatehi appeals to citizens to donate PPE kits to aid health care fraternity


Nora Fatehi joins Vidya Balan in urging people to donate PPE kits to help our medical fraternity in this tough time. Recently we all have seen Vidya Balan making a donation and requesting citizens to donate PPE kits for our nation's heroes. Now Nora Fatehi makes her sincere appeals to ...

City »

Members of Bangladesh Navy distributing Personal Protective Equipment to the doctors and nurses at Barguna Sadar Hospital recently to fight coronavirus.


Editorial »

More borrowing by govt will add to per head public debt


THE national budget will be placed before the parliament at a cost of Tk 5.569 trillion on June 11 for fiscal year 2020-21 aiming at a GDP growth of 8.2 per cent. The budget is going to be mainly based on bank and non-bank borrowing and will earmark Tk 635.25 ...

City »

Councilor of 26 No Ward of DSCC Hashibur Rahman Manik handing over vegetables among the low-income people free of cost after inaugurating a 'market for one minute'at Abdul Alim Playground in the city on Wednesday.


.

Sports »

Sky Brown, 11, targets Olympic gold despite horror


Agency :Eleven-year-old skateboarder Sky Brown is still targeting Olympic gold for Britain in Tokyo despite a horrific fall during training in the United States.Brown was rushed to hospital by helicopter after falling in training in California on Thursday.She was reportedly unresponsive on arrival at hospital, with her father Stewart saying ...

Editorial »

Welcome RSC as it takes over factory inspection regime


RMG Sustainability Council (RSC) - a local inspection entity jointly formed by BGMEA and representation of different brands, retailers and trade unions finally started functioning from June 1 taking over from Accord made up by European buyers. The handover basically shows the change of the guard from internationally supervised buyers' ...

City »

Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation Sheikh Fazle Nur Taposh speaking at the first board meeting of the newly elected councilors of DSCC in Mayor Mohammad Hanif Auditorium of Nagar Bhaban on Tuesday.


Sports »

Kutubuddin Ahmed gets Knight Award of Spain


Sports Reporter :Former secretary general of Bangladesh Olympic Association (BOA) Kutubuddin Ahmed got Knight Award of Spain. It is the highest reward of Spain.Ahmed was one of the organiser of South Asian Games (SA Games) 2010, which was held in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. He distinguished his name ...

Entertainment »

Shirley on the cover of magazine


This young singer-actor enjoys a terrific fan following on social media. A look at her Youtube channel or a visit to her Instagram page can leave one astonished about her immense popularity among youth and music lovers! That’s Auckland based Shirley Setia for you who comes like a ‘Fresh air ...

Editorial »

Inadequate Covid testing facilities may deteriorate the pandemic situation


THE overwhelming demand for Covid-19 tests has rendered the designated private facilities also unable to offer the tests to test seekers. Now 50 labs, including 17 private ones, are doing the Covid-19 RT-PCR tests after the number of government-run facilities was found inadequate to handle the pressure of the test ...

Football »

Sancho nets hat-trick, joins US killing protest as Dortmund cruise


England winger Jadon Sancho scored a hat-trick and revealed a "Justice for George Floyd" protest message in Borussia Dortmund's 6-1 rout of bottom side Paderborn on Sunday that trimmed Bayern Munich's lead at the top of the Bundesliga to seven points.The outstanding Sancho, who now has 17 goals and 17 ...

Cricket »

Sabbir denies allegation of harassing RCC cleaner


National discard cricketer Sabbir Rahman denied the allegation of harassing a cleaner of Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) physically as the news spread around social media outlets.Sabbir who earlier was banned a couple of times for his off the field misbehave, admitted, he had some verbal spat with the cleaner, something ...

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news