The term nocracy is derived from two Greek words: noos (νους) which means mind or intellect, and “kratos” (κράτος) which means authority or power. It is commonly translated as “rule of the wise”.

The idea of a noocracy is found in the works of several ancient Greek authors, and Pythagoras wished to create a “city of the wise” in Italy with his followers; the order of mathematikoi. In his text “Laws”, Platon also describes a city that shares many traits of a noocracy.

More recently, the idea of a noocracy (“the noosphere”) was expanded upon by Vladimir Vernadsky, one of the founders of geochemistry, biogeochemistry and radiogeology. The philosophers Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and Éudourd Le Roy both attended Vernadsky´s lectures and continued to develop the concept of the noosphere.

In the words of the Russian-American literary scholar and essayist Mikhail Epstein “(…) the thinking matter increases its mass in nature and geo- and biosphere grow into noosphere, the future of the humanity can be envisioned as noocracy—that is the power of the collective brain rather than separate individuals representing certain social groups or society as whole”.

Arguments for noocracy

Proponents of noocracy typically regard the bulk of voters in modern democracies as ignorant, misinformed and irrational. From this perspective, the one-vote-per-adult version of democracy is likely to produce and outcome far inferior to decisions made by a small group comprised of well-informed and rational individuals.

Proponents of noocracy also tend to believe that most voters are unlikely to inform themselves on political matters, as they think the marginal contribution of their specific vote will not make a difference.

It is also argued that most voters process political information in strongly biased and partisan ways. When a voter strongly identifies with a certain political group, the voter is likely to notice or actively seek out information that support their current position rather than seek out information that would speak against it.

Criticisms of noocracy

The idea of noocracy have been criticised from various angles, including the political viability of a noocracy, the efficacy of a noocracy, and the risk of a noocracy attempt resulting in the formation of a non-egalitarian aristocratic non-democratic ruling class.

Jason Brennan

In his book “Against Democracy”, the United States philosopher and business professor Jason Brennan paints a picture of a noocracy that aims to separate the general population from the decision making, on the basis that officials with superior knowledge would make superior decisions.

Against Democracy explores elements of restricted suffrage and plural voting schemes, and the eight chapter delves on system of graduated voting power that gives an individual more votes based on established levels of education achieved.