TECHNOCRACY  STUDY  COURSE  Supplement to lesson 21
7th. March, 2010


(1934 & REPRINTS)


The purpose of this Supplement to The Technocracy Study Course  (1934 & reprints) is to elaborate on the functions and design of the Energy Certificate, originally introduced in Lesson 21 in the section headed: ‘The Mechanism of Distribution’;


go bottom




The Technocracy Study Course is the most basic and authoritative publication of Howard Scott’s ‘Technocracy Inc.’.  Published in 1934 to meet the overwhelming public demand for information at that time it went right back to basic elements of science to explain the scientific derivation of technocratic concepts.  It is an educational text. Of its 22 Lessons 20 of them relate to basic science subjects, an appreciation of which it is helpful for an understanding of Technocracy and its origins. It is prefaced by “An Introduction to Science”, an outstanding essay in itself.


Just the last two lessons are devoted to an overview of the concepts of a Technocracy.  They are: Lesson 21, “Technocracy: The Design” and Lesson 22, “Industrial Design and Operating Characteristics”.




Definition of ‘The Energy Certificate’.


“Energy Certificate” is a term coined in the study course to designate the record of a purchase by a citizen of a Technocracy.  It is the record of a transaction; i.e. it is a Bill of Sale, a receipt for a purchase.  Its cost (charge to consumer) is denominated in energy units. It has very important additional functions in the operation of the economy of the Technate, including the balancing of production with consumption, as explained in the following paragraphs. A preliminary design of The Energy Certificate and an explanation of some of its functions were described by Harold Fezer in his article:  “The Energy Certificate”, in Technocracy Series A, No. 10, July, 1937. (see  below)


 Functions of the Energy Certificate


First and foremost The Energy Certificate must be defined as a record of a purchase. It is the equivalent of a Sales Slip.  It shows the supply source (Distribution Depot or other Agency), the identity (name and catalogue number) of the item purchased and its assigned energy cost as a charge against the purchaser’s account, as well as the identity of the purchaser (name and associated reference number for this citizen’s Consumer Profile).


Assigned energy cost’ will be an approximation, rather than an exact energy costing of an individual item. It will be an accumulation of associated inputs of energy involved in production, leading to an assigned energy cost of production for fthe unit of a ‘batch’, ‘model’, ‘run’, or other defined quantity.


The second function, in combination with the first, is the credit balance of this consumer’s energy account. An individual’s energy account is automatically augmented electronically at specific intervals by the Distribution Sequence, valid for the balanced load period of the Technate, proposed initially at around two years.


The third function, not shown on the Certificate, is to provide data input for inventory and stock planning of this Distribution Depot; also data for statistical analysis and operating information for administration at all levels and regions of governance.


The fourth function is to provide to the supplier (Distribution Depot or Agency) access to the Consumer Profile of the ‘purchaser’. (There may be many transactions where the Consumer Profile is irrelevant and not involved: i.e. such as many food services and many health services. Sometimes the Identity Card would be sufficient, as in the case of local transit. In other cases it may be of great importance to the smooth operation of the economy).  Some features of this Consumer’s Profile may appear on the completed Energy Certificate, such as Sex, and Stage of Life (Youth; In-Service; Retired). (See Fezer’s preliminary design {1937} below ). The potential scope of a Consumer Profile to provide additional information is outlined below.


A fifth function is a contingent one, dependent upon special circumstances where there is a need to know a citizen’s location and movements. Energy Certificates could be a helpful record in such cases. (A similar function in the Price System is termed a ‘Paper Trail’ based upon credit card usage).


The Consumer Profile


The properties of The Energy Certificate as set forth in the Study Course (1934) identify it as a transaction record, whereby an indent (a purchase order) for a goods or service is recorded at the time the purchase is made by an identified consumer. As originally designed in Harold Fezer’s paper, his Energy Certificate (labeled ‘Distribution Certificate) (see illustration below) included elements of a  ‘consumer profile’ for identification but does not use the term.


The transcendent need for a comprehensive consumer profile is a result of the distinctive characteristics of a Technocracy: it is a high-energy high-speed economy producing an abundance of goods and services.


An abundance of the basic requirements of a high standard of living on a continental area such as North America is a consequence of converting energy of the order of 200,000 capita, per day. Equality of income in a Technocracy is also a consequence of that condition.  It is not an ideological objective. It would be both difficult (impossible?) and pointless to seek a basis for differentiating incomes in an environment of abundance.


 The maintenance of these conditions requires a defense against any abuse or interference that could destabilize the system; or re-establish a condition of scarcity; or permit the re-introduction of prices and values characteristic of the trading in a Price System. This requires rigorous identification of the purchaser, i.e. a consumer profile, to match that consumer to an appropriate range of consumables.  It does not interfere in any way with the usual choices of goods and services appropriate to the various life-styles and aspirations of the individual. Remember that each adult has independent income and cannot hire others or give gifts or otherwise impose conditions of welfare or servitude on anyone else.


Howard Scott, in the design of Technocracy, did not describe in detail such a system of comprehensive consumer profiles for the Technate.  However he did infer the existence of such a system when he mentioned that the controls of the distribution system could only be overcome by identical twins, living together and having identical careers.  (Personal recollection).  “Provided you are an identical twin, working at the same occupation, then you might have a chance in four billion of beating us.” (from the Words and Wisdom of Howard Scott, Vol.1, p.59-5, at Appleton, Wisconsin.)


 Every transaction by the citizen/purchaser must involve such identification. Some elements were included in the original design of the Energy Certificate, which was the record of a purchase. As presented in the Certificate design of 1937 (by Harold Fezer) identification included: signature, sex, holders registration number, the regional Division where the holder works; the e Functional Sequence and its Subdivisions; down through the Unit in which the holder works; and the number of workers in this Unit, of which the worker (in this case) is Number Eleven.


There are 3 classes of information involved here.  First there is information that does not change, including birth date, sex, registration number at birth, and other bio-identifiers such as tattoos (?), iris scan, etc.  These are basic elements of the purchasing profile: ‘the bio-identity’, to give it a name. (The original Certificate included these data.)


 Second, there are functional identifiers such as the ‘employment identity’.  These can change frequently throughout a career.  They help define a current consumer profile. The original Certificate {see below} included an example of this class of information, in this case a foundry worker (No, 11). It provides for consumables related to employment.


Third there are the social status identifiers, the ‘socio-identity’, (to coin a term) reflecting achievements and status.  There could be a principal one with supplementals.

Be it a doctor, scientist, sports professional, amateur astronomer, private pilot, paraplegic, blind person, etc., each such defined functional status may profoundly influence a consumer profile. This third category was not expressly described in the original Certificate but can have an important bearing on a citizen’s identity and the appropriate consumer definition.




Litigation in a Price System is mainly about individually owned property and money equivalents.  In a Technocracy the condition of abundance and equality of income (in energy units) for all adult citizens would eliminate such processes.  A revised system of jurisprudence will be required.  Most transgressions of the law would most likely involve crimes against the person, or involving irresponsible use of resources, energy, the environment, or involving subversion of the system, which would defeat the vital functions of system components such as The Energy Certificate.




Now it is 2010.  Much has changed since 1934 in the technology available to process such records. Computer based programs such as an augmented bar code can make this large accumulation of data readily available both by a constantly up-dated web site for each individual and by dated personal identity card.  It is possible that both the design and the name of the Energy Certificate may change with time, but the vital functions it performs will be maintained.




The main ‘elaboration’ proposed was the introduction of the term ‘Consumer Profile’ and its development to include ‘Socio-Identity’.  This was the subject of most comments.


It was commented:  “…under Social Identity, you identify the socio-identity as a supplemental.  What would be the purpose of this addition, as you say “it may profoundly influence a Consumer Profile”?.


Answer: Re the Socio-identity portion of the Consumer Profile consider the following examples as it might apply to an individual Consumer Profile.


Consumer A:  He is a hunter.  His Consumer Profile must qualify him for the gun, the ammunition, appropriate apparel, vehicle, license, quota, etc etc. Also for Membership in related community and continental organizations.


Consumer B:  He is a retired anthropologist.  His Consumer Profile must provide for him to have sets of bones and models and a place for them and for his workplace at home as he writes his papers.  He will be accredited to several societies.


Consumer C:  She is a fabric and clothing designer.  She will need access to bulk fabrics, special machines, and a place to work.  Possibly support persons.  An out-of-home work place.  Appropriate memberships.


Consumer D:  A gardener.  A home with garden space.  A variety of seed stock, equipment. materials, reference sources, cultivating services, waste disposal, product disposal, etc.  Appropriate memberships.


Consumer E:  A private pilot.  Valid certification.  Experience on type.  Log book certification, etc., etc.  Appropriate memberships.


            And so on.  Much of this is in place today through various organizations, sometimes supported by law, sometimes self-regulating.  It is all part of a high energy active society of busy well educated adults.


Comment:  “Hard to imagine a data base that could contain all this information but with computers it is possible”.


Answer:  It helps sometimes, to consider how the problem is handled now. Overall it is largely accomplished today by the ‘Market Place’.  The Price System places strict limits on who buys or does what, depending primarily on income. But without the Market Place, and in Technocracy’s environment of ‘abundance’ and ‘equal incomes’ how would a Technocracy cope?  By subdividing the problem, I suggest, into areas, functions, associations, etc. that would serve as subsidiary Agencies of the Distribution Sequence.


A private pilot is used as an example.  The local flying club could be developed into a Depot or Agency controlling most associated economic operations, certificate validation, appropriate supplies for a specific region, and so on.  It would then consolidate returns to the main distribution center – The Distribution Sequence.




The details of a Technocracy (a Technate) are conjectural at this point. Such a society has never existed.  The combination of modern technology and mankind’s ability to adapt (and assuming adequate energy and other resources) make it not only possible, but probable. Scott foreshadowed all this.



go top

Back to study course


NOTE: The complete text of Fezer’s paper is accessible from archive issues of ‘Technocracy Series A, Number 10, July 1937’ and from reprints of his paper available from Continental Headquarters, Technocracy Inc., 2475 Harksell Road, Ferndale, WA.  98248-9764.

Back to study course