Beware the Romantic Technocrat…
When you think ‘technocrat’, words like boring, instrumental, management, spreadsheets and briefcase are not far behind. And then there are those red roses, candlelit dinners, pink champagne, soft lighting, gentle music…Or maybe you have never met that kind of technocrat?
Paul Krugman at the New York Times made a striking claim yesterday- that the so called ‘technocrats’ who are now running the besieged economies of Italy and Greece are actually ‘cruel euro romantics’. Of course, being a bit of a technocrat himself, he uses ‘romantic’ in a rather technical sense:
“They are, to be sure, a peculiarly boring breed of romantic, speaking in turgid prose rather than poetry. And the things they demand on behalf of their romantic visions are often cruel, involving huge sacrifices from ordinary workers and families. But the fact remains that those visions are driven by dreams about the way things should be rather than by a cool assessment of the way things really are.”
His post reminded me of what Jonathan Ree in a different context referred to as ‘para-science’ i.e. the ‘campfire’ stories that scientists tell themselves to legitimise their endeavours.
I think there is a fair amount of para-economics around at the moment- visions of how things have to be to keep the financial system afloat, whether they are feasible or not.