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The outlook of the digital technocrat

From Automating Inequality by Virgina Eubanks pg 123-124: The proponents of the coordinated entry system, like many who seek to harness computational power for social justice, tend to find affinity with systems engineering approaches to social problems. These perspectives assume that complex controversies can be solved by getting correct information […]

Elections cannot be allowed to change economic policy

What does it mean for policy to be insulated from politics? That’s the question we ultimately confront when investigating the putative depoliticisation of the economy. Matters which should be publicly resolved, through organised processes of contestation, instead get decided privately. We can cite examples of such transitions, consider whether they […]

The technocratic oath

In his political memoir, Adults In The Room, Yanis Varoufakis recounts a meeting with Larry Summer which took place in April 2015. Only months into his tenure as Finance Minister, he looked to this architect of the neoliberal world order for support as hostilities with European leaders over Greece’s fiscal […]

What is a wonk?

What is a wonk? It’s a deceptively simple question which it’s worth us attending to. This is the answer given in an excellent Baffler essay by Emmett Rensin: What, after all, is a wonk? It is not the same thing as an expert, although those are tedious as well. In […]

The Self-Understandings of Technocratic Elites

From This Town, by Mark Leibovich, pg 137: Clever locals refer to the Correspondents’ Association dinner as “Nerd Prom.” This is one of those self-congratulatory Beltway terms masked as self-deprecation. “Nerd” implies that everyone would of course much rather be immersed in the deep wiring of some issue, something of […]

over-reach by unelected technocrats

This is the debate which the Financial Times says has been prompted by Mark Carney’s intervention on climate change earlier in the week. His point seemed rather incisive to me, observing that “Since the 1980s the number of registered weather-related loss events has tripled” and that furthermore “Inflation-adjusted insurance losses from these […]