Eastphalia, US

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Technocrats On The Way

The looming collapse of Greece and Italy have put the threat of a technocracy into the news for the first time in quite a while. The basics of what's expected to happen are that the ruling government in those countries will turn to financial and industrial experts to turn their countries around; those people making decisions on behalf of the governement won't be politicians, and they won't have been elected - which, depending on whose side the technocrats are on, is either great or horrible.

First thing: this is different than the Technocracy movement, which hails back to the 1930s and is still around today. Greece and Italy will still have politicians controlling most of everything; those governments have been turning to expert advisors throughout the financial troubles, so the scope and content of those country's governments will not be significantly changed. The key difference is that the technocrats (small-T) that will be put in charge of getting the countries back on track will be given direct decision-making control over government action.

Here in the U.S., we think that's scary - but then we tend to turn a blind eye to the lobbyists that manipulate our government, but as with the technocracy, we're prepared for the idea that someday there'll be a lobbyist on our side and we don't want to lose that little bit of national power.  The technocracy's influence occurs in much the same way - they may be a necessary evil, but those who put the technocrats there believe that the technocrats will be on their side.  Let's hope so.  European financial collapse will have a serious impact on the rest of the world, potentially redrawing the map of Europe if things get really bad. 

The advantage to the existing Greek and Italian governments is that placing the technocrats in power is a temporary and controlled action.  The technocrats get to make the hard decisions, without fear of political repercussion, and then the politicians get back into power once things have been resolved.   This is akin to getting the CFO to explain to your employees why there won't be raises this year - the decision isn't any less that of the manager, but the manager gets the benefit of the mud-slinging being directed at the higher-ups.   The technocrats will take the fall, amid accusations of ivory-towers and self-interests, but if they've done their job right people will be left unhappy, but the nation on a stronger financial foundation.

That makes it sound easy, and it leaves a lot on the shoulders of the technocrats.  Being defined as a 'technocrat' holds the weight of being the person with the best experience to do the job, and if that remain true, there might be a win in this for all of the European Union.