Technocracy is a form of government in which the decision-maker or makers are selected based on their expertise in a given area of responsibility, particularly with regard to scientific or technical knowledge. This system explicitly contrasts with representative democracy, the notion that elected representatives should be the primary decision-makers in government, though it does not necessarily imply eliminating elected representatives. Decision-makers are selected based on specialized knowledge and performance rather than political affiliations, parliamentary skills, or popularity.
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The term technocracy was initially used to signify the application of the scientific method to solving social problems. In its most extreme form, technocracy is an entire government running as a technical or engineering problem and is mostly hypothetical. In more practical use, technocracy is any portion of a bureaucracy run by technologists. A government in which elected officials appoint experts and professionals to administer individual government functions, and recommend legislation, can be considered technocratic. Some uses of the word refer to a form of meritocracy, where the ablest are in charge, ostensibly without the influence of special interest groups. Critics have suggested that a "technocratic divide" challenges more participatory models of democracy, describing these divides as "efficacy gaps that persist between governing bodies employing technocratic principles and members of the general public aiming to contribute to government decision making".