Exit, Voice and Technocracy

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In Power Without Knowledge, Jeffrey Friedman develops a critique of technocracy and in doing so makes an epistemic case for exit over voice. He argues that a technocracy that fails to take people’s ideational heterogeneity into account is unlikely to possess the knowledge required to solve social problems, and that the alternative of “exitocracy” may, in some cases, overcome these limits. By creating the conditions under which individuals can exit from undesirable social situations, an exitocracy may allow people to escape their social ills without knowing their society-wide causes or solutions. As Friedman recognizes, however, an exitocracy still requires technocratic knowledge, and this paper explores these requirements in further detail. First, it investigates the limits of exit as a solution to social problems, and the extent to which technocratic policies can be substituted for exit. Second, it considers the need for technocratic knowledge in the promotion of exit opportunities, and how this undermines Friedman’s defense of exitocracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-61
JournalCritical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2020


  • Technocracy
  • Exit mechanism
  • exitocracy
  • political epistemology
  • green political theory
  • primary public goods
  • secondary public goods
  • tertiary public goods


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