Are we heading in the right direction?
Postman describes a "Technopoly" as a society and culture in which "the primary, if not the only, goal of human labor and thought is efficiency, that technical calculation is in all respects superior to human judgment ... and that the affairs of citizens are best guided and conducted by experts."
Yes and no. I will agree that, to an extent, our America has become a technopoly. The goal of our labor efforts has always been efficiency: how can we get the most work done in a short period of time. At least in the private sector, not so much in the government sector of the economy. That is the beauty of capitalism (if you want to call our economic system that) and the downfall of communism. My beef with communism is that I believe it breeds mediocrity. When everyone is the same, and gets paid the same at their job, no matter what they do or how well they do it, there is no drive to succeed or innovate. Unless there is a government mandate prompting people to develop weapons, for example the arms race of the Cold War, nothing ever gets done and nothing ever changes.
I feel that is the beauty of capitalism, the idea that by working hard and innovating, a single person can succeed and live the life they dream. I don't see that happening in a communist society. Humans in this day and age desire to be better and have more things than their neighbors. That is why sports exist, and I feel that to suppress that desire is the downfall of communism.
"...technical calculation is in all respects superior to human judgment" I don't understand why technical calculation cannot be used to supplement human judgment. Often times our judgments are wrong. What if, for example, the scientists with NASA decided to take a guess at how to get into space. Answer: many astronauts would have died. I do think I'm taking his argument to an extreme, but I feel that our society values technical calculation because it gives us definitive answers to our technical questions. We don't necessarily throw out all human judgment, as he suggests, but I think we use a combination of the two.
"...and that the affairs of citizens are best guided and conducted by experts." If this is true in our society, it is not a society in which I want to live. With the election of Barack Obama, I fear that we are headed into an era with greater government control, more bureacracy and less individualism. Case in point: nationalized healthcare. With a system such as the socialist medical systems of Europe, the government funds all the healthcare. That's great you may say. However, they also control what doctor you see, when you see them, and how long you will wait. The worlds greatest doctors are all found in America, where they have private practices and are paid what they deserve. When the government pays doctors, they are paid significantly less than in private practice, and are paid on a pay scale, much like teachers in America. Many teachers at the top of the pay scale begin to slack off because hey, there is no way they can fire them and they get paid the same no matter how they teach. That is bad enough in our educational system, but do we really want it to happen to our healthcare system too? As I said before, communism, as well as socialism, breeds mediocrity.
Let me leave you with a quote from state Senator Larry Pogemiller that exemplifies the quote above, "I think it's simplistic and naive to say people can spend their money better than the government." Listen to it on YouTube here: