|A technocracy billboard sign (left) and the "technical alliance" group, in 1958, showing Howard Scott as the chief engineer, along with other notables such as: Thorstein Veblen (economist) and Richard Tolman (cosmological thermodynamicist).|
The group has its roots in a 1918 energy survey of North America, centered as Columbia University, completed under the leadership of American engineer Howard Scott.
In the winter of 1918-19, the group included Howard Scott, chief engineer; Frederick Ackerman, architect; Carl L. Alsberg, chemist; Allen Carpenter, M.D.; Stuart Chase, C.P.A.; L.K. Comstock, electrical engineer; Alice Barrows Fernandez, educator; Bassett Jones, electrical engineer; Benton Mackaye, forester; Leland Olds, statistician; Charles Steinmetz, electrical engineer; Richard Tolman, physicist; John Carol Vaughn, M.D.; Thorstein Veblen, educator; Charles H. Whitaker, housing expert; and Sullivan W. Jones, secretary.  The group’s view was that technology was displacing man-hours of labor, leading to increased unemployment and lack of purchasing power, and that a solution was needed.
One of their many thermodynamic-based economic theories was the use of “energy certificates” instead of money as units of value. The “Technate” is a term that describes the region over which a technocratic society would operate using thermodynamic energy accounting instead of a price system (money) method. The project, which purportedly sought to understand or regulate social order based on units of ergs, kilowatts, and calories, was supported by Columbia University.
In 1933, Columbia University, supposedly, had enough of technocracy ideas, and “cleaned house”.  It seems, possibly, that the project fell from public favor owing to its focus on trying to improve “efficiency”, likely modeled on Carnot efficiency, of human labor, whereby people began to see Technocracy as a body aimed at getting more work out of people.
In 1945, American physical historian Morris Zucker wrote the following humorous snippet: 
“‘How best to produce and distribute the products of man’s efforts is an engineering problem and for each detail of which there is always a right answer’, wrote Harold Loeb, the High Priest of Technocracy when that was in vogue.”
|Top: title page to the 1934, 275-page book Technocracy Study Course, with chapters on the laws of thermodynamics, the human engine, etc.  Right: Harold Loeb's 1933 Life in a Technocracy, an alternative view to that of Howard Scott. |
1. Scott, Howard. (1932). Technocracy – a Thermodynamic Interpretation of Social Phenomena (12-pages). Thenocracy [sic]. ASIN: B00088FJ3M.
2. Dabney, Thomas E. (2007). One Hundred Great Years: the Story of Times Picayune from its Founding to 1940 (pg. 450). Read Books.
3. Hubbert, M. King. (1936). “Man-Hours and Distribution.” Technocracy Series A. No. 8, Aug.
4. Sievert, Skip. (2007). “A Review: Technocracy Study Course: 1947”, Sep 22, Internet Archive.
5. Scott, Howard and Hubbert, M. King. (1934) Technocracy Study Course: an Outline of those Elements of Science and Technology Essential to an Understanding of our Social Mechanism; an Analysis of the Price System; Technocracy’s Social Synthesis (275-pgs). Technocracy Inc.
6. (a) Loeb, Harold. (1933). Life in a Technocracy: What it Might Be Like (pg. 76). Syracuse University Press.
(b) Zucker, Morris. (1945). The Philosophy of American History: The Historical Field Theory (pg. 25). Arnold-Howard Publishing Co.
7. Segal, Howard P. (1933). "Introduction", in: Life in a Technocracy: What it Might Be Like (by Harold Loeb). Syracuse University Press.
● Technocracy and thermodynamics – Wikipedia.
● Technocracy wiki (19 articles) – Wikia.com.
● TechnocracyNow – YouTube.