A while ago (around the time the pandemic bloomed) I wrote a piece advocating technocratic leadership. Why wouldn’t I? The countries that seemed to be doing best were those with a certain bent for technical thinking. I looked at Singapore and Taiwan.
Looking back, I realized the one factor that would eventually distinguish their successes. And it wasn’t purely technical thinking.
I still think a large amount of expertise is necessary for any organization. But I’ve come to acknowledge the fact that expertise and technocratic know-how don’t immediately translate into a satisfied citizenry.
It’s one thing to be attuned with the scale of exponential rates. It definitely provides one with a sort of sixth sense. The ability to see threats in ways that may not have been seen by the average individual. That said there’s a reason populists rise in the first place.
My initial praise of technocratic leadership found its root in the progress Singapore had made in curbing the virus back then. A trend that would reverse for a while due to the fact that its much poorer immigrant populace had caught and resuscitated the spread of the virus.
Technocratic leadership often sees inequality as a necessity for progress. But then, it becomes overly complacent with it until it comes back to bite it.
The rise of Trump and nationalist movements worldwide proves this. It’s no longer sufficient to understand the world in merely technical systems. Regardless of truth and empiricism people are still drawn misinformation and biases.
The truth is that we may have enough people who do so. A sort of technocratic elite overproduction is bound to have negative impacts. What we seem to lack is people who bridge that understanding of technical systems and their impacts with an affinity for human empathy.
So perhaps, while I still see the “entrepreneur king” becoming something people genuinely advocate for, I’m skeptical of its possible success, despite my admiration of entrepreneurs. We need people who understand the consequence of technical systems and bridge that with a deep understanding and empathy for their fellow person.
Sounds obvious right? Look around you and see if such leadership is common. Definitely not as common as you’d have thought huh?
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