By contrast, moderate technocrats seek only to practice what Karl Popper called "piecemeal social engineering
," that is, to introduce appropriate, rational reforms into society and then to undertake evidence-based assessments.
Piecemeal social engineering
resembles physical engineering in regarding the ends as beyond the province of technology.
Changes to modern civilization must be "incremental" according to Sowell or accomplished by "tinkering" according to Hayek (1979) or by "piecemeal social engineering
," as Karl Popper (1961) put it.
If,however,an organisation is working reasonably well, then it is sensible to adopt a more modest programme of piecemeal social engineering
to make it even more effective.
And I worry that if we were to move in this country towards piecemeal social engineering
we would in some way compromise the system's flexibility at a time when, to me, the most important thing in the next 15 years is going to be flexibility.
Sidgwick's British Association address of 1886, "Economic Socialism," is surely germane to Kloppenberg's case for strong affinities between Sidgwick's "utilitarianism founded on intuition" and the piecemeal social engineering
advocated by John Dewey and William James.
On piecemeal social engineering
? The true accounting has yet to begin, though nostalgia and revisionism can only postpone it.
"In this area," they declare, "piecemeal social engineering
is the way to make progress." That is the book's real theme.