The definition of truth is generally considered to be “something that is in conformity with fact or reality.” Strictly speaking, a proposition must either be true or false. When dealing with complex issues, however, the search for the truth may involve a thorough review of assertions in order to ensure that they are not exaggerations of reality and that assertions are believable based upon the balance of evidence.
In search of the truth about smart grids, it is instructive to review what might be considered two extreme views.
1. The Smart Grid Enables Implementation of “Technocracy.”
Opponents of the smart grid view its implementation as a way for corporations to make hefty profits as the government finds a way to intrusively control our lives through total energy management. This view is quite thoughtfully presented by Patrick Wood who sees the smart grid and smart meters as fitting into a master plan to totally control the human population through the implementation of what is called “Technocracy.”
Technocracy is a movement that began back in the earlier 1900s to replace the current economic system with one based upon the control of energy distribution and consumption. It is a form of “scientific dictatorship” where “technocrats” know best and impose their esoteric idealized view of society upon the human race. Technologically based corporations and professional organizations are seen as enablers of this transformation.
Below is an almost 40 minute-long video presentation by Mr. Wood that will describe Technocracy as well as such concepts as “sustainable development” and an organization called the Trilateral Commission.
2. The Smart Grid Enables a Smarter Future with Exciting Possibilities.
The video clip below produced by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) describes an upbeat smarter future where we modernize our aging electrical grid and where consumers are able to better manage their energy consumption and costs.
3. Analysis and Commentary
As you compare the two versions of our future, it is probable that the two visions are not mutually exclusive. A great portion of both visions may be true. The upbeat video from the EEI is more of a marketing campaign that tries to convince the public that the smart grid is for their benefit in order for them to be able to control their energy consumption.
Mr. Wood’s vision would be that government and other organizations like the Trilateral Commission are attempting to control human behavior by essentially rationing available energy supplies. Certainly, governments are attempting to “influence” human behavior, but they will advertise it in a way that the consumer is in control.
The problem may be down the road. In the beginning in order to sell the program, smart grid technology is presented in a way that is advertised as voluntary participation. On other hand, smart meters themselves do not appear to be voluntary in most respects. Everyone is expected to have one. Farther down the road, it would be very easy to announce that the so-called voluntary energy control programs are suddenly mandatory for all. In combination with smart appliances, the capability will exist to monitor all human behavior and manage all energy consumption, even for your rechargeable “very small” electric car. That would then be close to the initial goal of Technocracy.
One difference though is noted at this point. The initial view of Technocracy was that it would be an inefficient use of resources for each person to even be able own an automobile. Cars would essentially be leased for each use, resulting in a vast reduction in the total number cars needed to accommodate society. Below are a couple select quotations from the principal document that outlines the foundation of Technocracy [*citation below]. Some of the wording is similar to how one would describe the proper care of pets or caged animals, i.e., that we would be properly fed and housed. To Technocracy advocates, it is viewed as “an age of peace and plenty.”
“A high standard of health will result if all human beings are properly fed, clothed, housed, and have all their other biological needs adequately cared for. A minimum of drudgery will be achieved with all routine tasks eliminated or performed as automatically as possible. Natural resources will be utilized with a minimum of wastage if all industrial processes have the highest physical efficiency, and all products will give the greatest amount of service per unit of physical cost.”
“As regards use of the automobiles, the change of administration would be even more profound. Whereas, at the present time, one buys an expensive automobile, and leaves it parked the greater part of the time in front of his house as evidence of conspicuous consumption, the automobiles that we are speaking of would have to be kept in operation. This would be accomplished by instituting what would resemble a national ‘drive it yourself’ system. The Automotive Branch of Transportation would provide a network of garages at convenient places all over the country from which automobiles could be had at any hour of the night or day. No automobiles would be privately owned [emphasis added]. When one wished to use an automobile he would merely call at the garage, present his driver’s license, and a car of the type needed would be assigned to him. When he was through with the car he would return it either to the same garage, or to any other garage that happened to be convenient, and surrender his Energy Certificates in payment for the cost incurred while he was using it.”
In conclusion, it would seem possible that if our future is controlled by those who are basically Sustainable Development zealots that we could definitely be led down a road close to the initial vision of Technocracy. Some would say that we are already on that journey. There are troubling signs. Let us hope that enough people still value liberty and freedom to prevent such an outcome. Still, intellectually, it is astonishing how some people could view Technocracy as “an of peace and plenty,” while others would view Technocracy as a meager and dismal existence, likened to caged animals with no hope for freedom or self-determination.