The Instigator
Mexecutive
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
dj21
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

A technocracy is better than a democracy.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
dj21
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/20/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,748 times Debate No: 35808
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (0)
Votes (3)

 

Mexecutive

Pro

Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the midst of global uncertainty. Questions abound from the most common to the most trivial. We are concerned about global warming, economic uncertainty, all of us right now, are unsure of what path we take.

A technocracy can be defined as a form of government wherein the people would be appointed, not generally elected, based on their technical expertise. A democracy, however, can be defined as a system of government wherein all eligible citizens can participate in the creation of laws for the benefit of the whole society.

I would argue that a technocracy deals much more effectively at economic problems than a democracy. I believe that most governments want to raise the standard of living of their citizens, but a technocracy deals with it better than a democracy. Let me ask you a question, "Do you trust someone, other than your doctor or some medically-trained man, with your disease?" As a rational answer, you would say no. And at a technocracy, you can rest assured that the state is being led by people who know what they're doing, compared to those people elected by the general public in a democratic government who think they know what they're doing.

A demonstration of this case would be of China. It's political system is headed by the Politburo, a group of nine people whose significant decisions affect China's billion population. Out of the nine members, eight have engineering degrees. I would argue that having the skill of an engineer in dealing with macroeconomic problems lead the Chinese government to effectively construct modern infrastructure in a span of less than two decades: the high-speed rail network, the National Trunk Highway System, and the Three Gorges Damn, and a myriad of buildings, bridges, and roads that can act as a catalyst for economic development. Having set out to build modern infrastructure, they also embarked on getting people from the rural provinces to live in the big cities, and as a result millions were lifted out of poverty.

In a democracy, however, a simple airport would be subject to much debate, resulting to having wasted time and resources on just getting things done.

I rest my case.
dj21

Con

I would like to thank Mexecutive for the opportunity to debate the concept of a "Technocracy" model of government. Hopefully it will be an interesting and enjoyable experience for both of us.

I will attempt to convince the voters that Democracy is a better option than Technocracy.

I would like point out, for starters, that China is not a Technocracy. China is a single-party Socialist State (according to Wiki [1]). The Party puts "technocrats" in positions of power. A Democracy could certainly employ the same strategy; a President could put a "technocrat" into each Cabinet position. Essentially, he does. I'm sure all Presidents actually do believe they are filling each Cabinet position with a highly qualified "expert." As it pertains to economics, there is little doubt that Ben Bernanke is the most influential figure in the American economy, and he is a technocrat (an appointed "expert" in the field of economics). The closest thing to a technocracy in the modern world would be some European nations where the EU has essentially usurped the will of national citizens by appointing technocrats in the name of economic management. Basically, they are managing economies on behalf of Brussels and international bondholders rather than on behalf of national citizens. So far, the results have been predictably disastrous.

I will not provide an extended defense for Democracy (and for the purpose of this debate, I will use Republic and Democracy interchangably, though I recognize there is a distinction). Democracy is a fairly new concept in the history of governmental organization, but has generally served the nations where it's been used quite efficiently. In the United States, democracy has been used for over 200 years with just a single major civil conflict. Democracy is not without flaws or problems, but I believe the reason for its general success is quite simple: it provides citizens with a means by which they can align government with their own interests (the grave danger of technocracy is glaringly evidence is Europe on this matter). In essence, it puts citizens in charge of government, rather than goverment in charge of citizens. By that, I mean citizens have the authority to peacefully determine who rules them. In the history of the world, that had basically never been the case before the advent of democracy. The only way to replace an undesirable regime was through violence. It seems to me that technocracy is just another form of returning power to the "ruling elite", however that is defined. Essentially, a "technocrat" is no different than a "dictator", except that someone somewhere has deemed them an "expert." Even the most despotic rulers have claimed to work in the best interest of the people, and I assume technocrats would claim the same. Whether they actually do is another matter entirely (see: Greece... compared to Iceland).

My problem with Technocracy as a system of government (which is what it appears you are proposing, since you are comparing it to Democracy) is three pronged:

1. Who appoints the technocrats? By what authority? Using what critereon? This wasn't specifed by Mexecutive, so hopefully he does so in the next round.

2. Do citizens have any recourse in the event of a failed technocratic regime? When a government fails to adequately please its citizenry in a Democracy, citizens can vote them out of power. The standard is, quite simply, popularity (for both better and worse). What is the proposed process for replacing failed technocrats? And as with one, what is the critereon for determining failure, who makes the determination, and by what authority?

3. The notion of "technocracy" assumes that experts (presumably, the technocrats) have a higher level of competence and can thus better manage unwieldy problems. I believe this premise is grossly false, and will produce a variety of amusing studies to support the position. Nowhere is this truer than in economics (ironically, your example of choice). Economists are notoriously awful at predicting the future. (See:Ben Bernanke [2])

The use of China as an example of exemplary economic planning is interesting. Certainly a streamlined bureacracy with little room for dissent makes for faster planning and execution of large-scale policy. It also leaves big decisions in the hands of few people trusting their "expertise" is sufficient. We will see how dangerous that can be i future rounds. China experienced exceptional growth as it became an industrialized nation over the last fifty years (though no better growth than "free market" economies that were not centrally planned by technocrats). But the centralized power structure employed by its technocrats has also led to a series of very significant long term (maybe short term?) problems with potentially disastrous consequences (not unlike our own increasingly "managed" economy).

Once again, my contention will not be that Democracy is some panacea. Rather, that Technocracy is one of the worst options conceivable.

Thanks again to Mexecutive for this opportunity, and I look forward to the debate.

[1]: http://en.m.wikipedia.org...
[2]: http://investmentwatchblog.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Mexecutive

Pro

Mexecutive forfeited this round.
dj21

Con

Extend all arguments.

I would also note..

I will provide a couple links to various articles and/or studies that suggest "experts" are not what they claim. Ironically, in studies confidence has actually been inversely correlated to accuracy in many situations. And, to compound the problem, people tend to shut down their own critical thinking when listening to an "expert." Everyone loses.

This article from the New York [1] opines on the incompetence of "experts" at some length. " “Expert Political Judgment” is just one of more than a hundred studies that have pitted experts against statistical or actuarial formulas, and in almost all of those studies the people either do no better than the formulas or do worse."

Another great read on the subject is "The Little Book of Behavioral Investing" which is chock full of studies indicating that experts aren't, and confidence is dangerous. From my notes: (p. 61) "Across the vast array of predictions, experts who reported they had 80 percent or more confidence in their prediction were actually correct only around 45 percent of the time. Across all predictions, the experts were little better than coin tossers." (p. 62) "Despite incontrovertible evidence that they were wrong, they showed no signs of cutting their faith in their own understanding of the situation."

The lesson: Beware of "experts."
Debate Round No. 2
Mexecutive

Pro

Mexecutive forfeited this round.
dj21

Con

Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
Mexecutive

Pro

Mexecutive forfeited this round.
dj21

Con

Extend all arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
Mexecutive

Pro

Mexecutive forfeited this round.
dj21

Con

I want to thank Mexecutive for the debate and thank readers for taking the time to read the material, and ask that they vote for Con.

Pro has not shown (or even suggested) how technocracy would be implemented as a system of governance. There has been no suggestion for who would put officials in office, by what authority, or by what standards. He has merely suggested that technically adept people should be in places of power, something that already happens in most democratic nations.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
No comments have been posted on this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by leonardlewis4 3 years ago
leonardlewis4
Mexecutivedj21Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con simply provided more thorough and thoughtful arguments, including sources... Pro rested his case in the first round after presenting a very weak and ill-informed position. Con presented problems with Pro's position which were never addressed.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Mexecutivedj21Tied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Very nicely argued by Con. The heart of the problem is the question of who appoints the technocrats and how do we know the "experts" are competent. Con had good, relevant sources. Pro forfeited three rounds, leaving Con's arguments unanswered.
Vote Placed by LevelWithMe 3 years ago
LevelWithMe
Mexecutivedj21Tied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit.