8.2 Technocentrism
The technocentric differs from the ecocentric in how he would approach environmental issues, and in his basic ideologies. He is identified by an apparent undiluted rational, scientific approach, which particularly translates itself into an economic rationality founded on the neo-classical school, There is, too, a belief in the ability and efficiency of management in solving problems by the use of 'objective analysis' and recourse to the laws of physical science - the natural authority of which is extended to economic 'laws'.
This management includes management of the environment - and of men, for unlike the ecocentric the technocentric turns away from public participation in environmental and other decision-making in favour of accepting as authoritative the advice of (scientific and economic) 'experts'.   Although this is ostensibly a rational mode, such rationalism may be stripped away to expose a raw and sometimes irrational faith - a faith in the idea of progress as expressed in, and equivalent to, material advancement, in the superiority of 'high' over 'lower' technology, in the sustainability of economic growth, and in the ability of advanced capitalism to maintain itself.
Frequently those who express such faiths have much to gain materially by their application. And their resultant undetached and unobjective position manifests itself in an irrationality which clearly transgresses the technocentric's own terms. Thus a truly 'objective' and 'expert' cost-benefit analysis would probably have grounded the Concorde project before it ever left the drawing board. It would probably have stopped the nuclear power plant building programme of the British Conservative Government which came to office in 1979, for many economic forcasts of demand for fast travel and for energy showed that both programmes would be redundant in the face of Britain's declining future needs.
However, if irrationality lies behind the rational facade, so too, according to does a lack of confidence lie beneath the authoritative expert aura. For if one 'strips off the veil of optimism' one can reveal underneath an inherent and disquieting uncertainty, prevarication, and tendency to error. Thus, the management of British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. argued vehemently at the 1978 Windscale Inquiry into the reprocessing of atomic waste, that adequate and stringent safety precautions were taken at the Cumbrian atomic plant where the reprocessing was intended. Yet, two years later, a report was finding evidence of managerial incompetence over radioactive waste which had leaked some years earlier into the soil surrounding the plant, while in 1983 Government legal action was contemplated against the management because of new leaks. And the story of the accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania in 1979 is studded with examples of the technocrats' prevarication and error to a remarkable degree.  Many follow ups after failures of management do not assure us that lessons will be learned and that they could never happen again.