Peak Oil News: Oil Crisis: Technocracy Inc. Predicted Oil Crisis 50 years ago

Monday, February 21, 2005

Oil Crisis: Technocracy Inc. Predicted Oil Crisis 50 years ago

ModBlog - Red Bewtween the Lines

 By Eugene Plawiuk

Recently a discussion on M.K.Hubbert arose on the marxism discussion list. This in itself was rather surprizing since Hubbert is a technocrat, and Technocracy Inc. is usually dismissed by the left as being some utopian scheme, or some kind of strange sect or cult. They were the original scientists and engineers for social responsibility, and being ahead of their time their theories appear to read like science fiction.

Hubbert is a favorite reference for my uncle, John Gregory, a professional engineer and geologist who worked for the National Research Council of Canada and is a long time member of Technocracy Inc here in Edmonton. As a social democratic technocrat living in the energy capital of Canada, his promotion of Hubberts therom was downright heresy. I grew up with a political understanding of technocracy as a progressive movement thanks to my uncle. Technocrats in Edmonton have always been activists appearing at all the progressive rallies and forums promoting their form of planned industrial/energy economy.

M. K. Hubbert predicated the Oil Crisis of 1972, waaaay back in the Fifties. He predicts that we will face a further oil crisis in the early part of this Century as reserve stocks decline along with increased demand.
Hubbert was dismissed at the time as a technocrat and his work is still villified in some circles today.Hubbert's work however has gained further legitimacy as oil prices have rocketed, and the Imperialist oil wars have drawn attention to this ongoing crisis.

Hubberts solution to this crisis was his theory of steady state economics. What was once thought of as crackpot theories of Technocracy, Hubbert has gained with new respect for his predictive analysis. Especially now that the impact of oil culture on the biosphere has been documented. Hubbert had already predicted that increasing reliance on oil would lead to an evironmental crisis in 1974.

Before dismissing Technocracy, one should review their work on economics needing to be energy based, actual credits based on the total value of physical energy available in an industrialized society. Not wage based, in other words they call for abolishing the wage system! Technocracy opposes capitalisms m-c-m formula (money-capital-money, or as we would call it today the Casino Capitalism of the Stockmarket) they oppose this money economy or price economy as they call it and propose replacing it with an energy economy.

Technocracy is a left wing industrial/social planning model , once banned at the same time as other left wing groups in the US and Canada. They promoted the theories ofthe Icelandic/American socialist Thorstein Veblen, author of the Leisure Class which gave us the term 'conspicious consumption'. Spefically Technocracy was influenced by his work: The Engineers And The Price System, regarding the social responsibilities of Science and Engineering which were direclty linked to the radical workers movement of the 1920's. The opening chapter is about Sabotage in the work place, the workers dissastisfaction with work and their alienation in industrial societies.

Technocracy Inc. from its beginings had friendly relations with the IWW, and was influenced by its unique form of North American syndicalism. Howard Scott was a friend of IWW General Secretary Vincent St. John, who got him to write articles for the union. Like other brain workers Technocrats viewed themsleves as workers, not a professional managment class as scientists and engineers have become today.

Unfortunately like left wing ideas of workers control, or self management which have been recuperated by capitalism and its managment theorists, technocracy and the term technocrat have been used as a prejorative for years. The reality is that technocrats are not just social engineers but socialist engineers, and an open organization to everyone, except politicians. Why thats downright anarchist of them.

Which may explain why politicians use technocrat as prejorative, they don't like being left out of anything.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


At 11:43 AM, October 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The present easing of oil 10/23/06 (gasoline) prices is illusionary
the public is agin being flimflamed
We will see after the national election .

Hubert was/is correct about oil depleation coupled with increasing usage. In the USA we are using approxmatly 3 million gallions per minute. Question how long is this substainable.

At 10:02 PM, June 05, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As an offical representative of Technocracy Inc, CHQ Ferndale, Washington state, let me please comment. Resource depletion is only one factor confronting our society and the world. How many human beings can this planet support without a breakdown? How much longer can we allow our oceans, freah water, air and soil to become so polluted as to be un-usable? We are witnessing severe storms and unique weather patterns because nature is trying to rebalance the systems that we are trying hard to destroy with our "drive for profit above all else." No, we do not have much wiggle room left - it may already be too late. We can still try though. Educate yourself to the total picture of the misuse of our technology and what we can do to begin to change things. Vist ""

George Wright


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