Coordinated by Aurelian GIUGĂL


The State of Science.

A statistical analysis of Romanian ministerial population[i]


Cătălin-Valentin Raiu


Romanian Academy, Institute of National Economy


Abstract: In the last decades we are witnessing a new trend in government, which is the appointment of non-politicians to ministerial positions. In Italy, the entire Mario Monti cabinet was formed with experts who never showed up in front of the electorate. The trend seems to challenge democracy itself, as the tie that connects the people and the government, which is representation, is loosening up. We start our approach by assuming that political representation is the core of democracy as it was understood in the 20th century in the West and that democracy is not a static political regime, but a dynamic one, meaning that it has the capacity and both the obligation to regenerate itself every moment. By using a neo-Weberian approach this paper provides a statistical analysis on Romanian ministerial population from 1991 to 2014 and concludes that democracy is a crisis by the lack of legitimacy from both politicians and political parties.


Keywords: political representation, technocrat, politician, democracy, governance.





Although are very used and abused in the public discourse, the terms “technocrat” and “technocracy” have no scholarly value yet. The theoretical work on technocracy is sparse, as mainstream political scientists are focusing on other subjects such as vote or political parties. My hypotheses are based on the assumption that politicians are not rational decision makers. We can speak more about politics of expertise rather than technocracy, as technocracy has had its peak in the 1970s and 1980s. Nevertheless, the trend of appointment of technocrats in ministerial positions is rising not just in Europe, but also in Romania.

We shall work on two types of democracy: the liberal democracy also called representative democracy and deliberative democracy. The classical formula of liberal democracy involves a continuous struggle for a better political representation of the people, as an idivisible political unity, not just in parliaments, but also in the actions of the governments. Thus, the government is also a representative of the people and its actions cannot be considered good or bad in a political sense, but representative or not of the will of the people. At the other end of nowadays political spectrum we have deliberative democracy which involves a complex process of decision-making and the conceptual rise of good governance[ii]. The government has to perform a good governance in order to secure social consent of the people and high position in the good governance international rankings.

The two types have in their core a different approach towards knowledge. Aristotle distinguishes three type of knowledge: tekhné (meaning productive knowledge and being proper to philosophers and scientist), episteme (theoretical knowledge) and praxis (as practical knowledge proper to politicians). The productive knowledge is central to deliberative democracies where the role of discussion is similar to a committee,that is to select the best technique to solve an issue, while the theoretical knowledge is at the core of liberal democracy where the role of discussion is to select the best policy[iii]. In this approach technocracy would mean a sub-type of political regime in which the rule belongs to those who posses the tekhné, as I will discuse in the chapter 6. 

My main hypothesis is that in Romania, despite a very long tradition of a struggle for a better political representation, the exercise of political power is increasingly entrusted to non-politicians in order to achieve better governance and as a consequences less democracy. On institutional facts my approach is neo-Weberian, while poststructuralist in conceptual usage. First I will consider political representation as a concept was coined and used in Romanian political modernity. This serves as a background for the political culture of political class. Afterwards I will try to develop a straightforward definition of technocrats and by a statistical analysis to see to what extend the Romanian political system is accepting them in ministerial positions. The issue is to understand whether Romanian democracy is in the course of changing its nature from representative to deliberative, or whether we can already speak of postdemocracy in Romania[iv].





Some Romanian political modernity references are necessary at this point. They are meant to reflect the fact that the nature of the representative mandate, and everything derived herefrom have never been negotiated and have not even been subject to intellectual debate, and were rather assumed via liberal channels. Thus, Article 38 of the Romanian Constitution of 1866 specifically indicates that parliamentarians shall represent the entire nation; therefore imperative mandates cannot possibly exist:

Membrii amândurora Adunărilor represintă națiunea, era nu numai județul sau localitatea care i-a numit [The members of both Assemblies represent the nation, not just the county or city who appointed them].[v]

The draft Constitution for Moldova, prepared by Mihail Kogălniceanu in 1844 was, in this regard, even more clearly:


art. 16. Mădulările Adunării sânt representanții țării, iar nu ai ținutului care-i numesc; prin urmare, ei nu pot de la ținut primi instrucțiuni [Art. 16. The Assembly limbs are the country representatives and not those of the region appointing them, so they cannot receive instructions from the region level][vi].


Apart of the legal texts, the studies published at the turn of the nineteenth century by Romanian intellectuals who usually studied law and social sciences in France, and who dealt with the topic of political representation, have produced texts at the intersection between science, ideology and historiography. Thus, in the late nineteenth century, the Liberal representative Constantin M. Ciocazan devoted a bachelor thesis to proportional representation emphasizing the idea that:


colegiile electorale delegă alesului dreptul de a representa nu numai pe aceia care au făcut alegerea, ci națiunea în întregul ei [constituencies delegate the elected to represent not only those who have made ​​the choice, but the nation as a whole].[vii]


Moreover, notes the MP, parliamentary immunity for ‘the views and votes casted’ [viii] is a consequence of pre-democratic parliamentary practice:


from the late fourteenth century to the sixteenth century, several impeachments against members of the House of Commons were initiated against their proposals deemed to have prejudiced the rights of the Crown[…] The Chamber objected but in vain, and only after the revolution of 1688, when through The Bill of Rights it had been decided that the parliamentary freedom of speech, debates and proceedings could not be subject to prosecution (impeached) [...] such immunity become an axiom of the representative regime[ix].


Another prewar intellectual, conservative Minister Contantin Dissescu, professor of Public Law at the University of Bucharest, declares himself explicitly against Rousseau[x]  in his very textbooks and shows that


«the representatives» delegates do not obey orders from their trustees [...] the political trustee is governed only by his own consciousness, having a completely moral responsibility to the public, if any[xi].


Although it existed since the dawn of the Romanian democracy, the respect for putting democracy into practice by means of political representation seems to be translated, in the post-communist period, as governmental rotation, multiparty system and plebiscite rather than as politicians’ care to strengthen the basic institutions of representative democracy. A more recent trend is to locate public figure of experts and appoint them in top leadership as in order to have a more complete representation of the people and a full democracy there is a need for a balance between the few and the many.

Who are the few then? The answer of our contemporary democracies lays in the experts. Politicians still represent the major part of people who exercise political power legitimized by free democratic election, but some of the ministerial positions are offered to experts in various areas of knowledge. This poses the issue of the ruling class[xii] and/or political elites[xiii]. However, it is important to distinguish between politicians, bureaucrats and technocrats.




The basis of political action is not to look for the truth, but simply to implement the opinion of the people. Modern democratic politics is not in the search of truth or moral virtues, but in the search of representing the interests of the people as a unified body politic. Thus, politicians are those who try to represent the people by assuming the confrontation with the electorate, assuming public offices in order to exert political power. They have to choose, to decide and to take up risks and their consequences. Politicians have enemies in Schmittian sense, but they also have allies in order to govern[xiv]. Politics was professionalized in Western democracies, while in a Weberian sense a politician is someone who possess the virtue of responsibility[xv]. Many of those who have succeeded to get in the top of politics as prime ministers had started politics from early age and had climbed the ladder of public offices step by step until they become at a certain point the most influential figure in their country[xvi]. Although “all ruling classes tend to become hereditary in fact if not in law. All political forces seem to possess a quality that in physics used to be called force of inertia. They have a tendency, that is, to remain at the point and in the state in which they find themselves”[xvii], politicians form a cast or society that is not happy to share the power, the knowledge and other secrets characteristic to politics with others. They argue for every vote, for every public appearance in order to succeed in getting a better public office at the next term. The Weberian politician is passionately committed to a cause – which is the ethic of responsibility:


For Weber, irresponsible politicians, whether or they commit to a cause (conviction politicians) or not (bureaucratic and power politicians) are those who allow calculative thinking to usurp a broader thoughtfulness about the world[xviii].


A good politician that history remembers as such is a monument of responsibility. At the opposite end of politics there are bureaucrats. Bureaucrats form a community as a mediator between the state and civil society (Hegel), or a politically dominant class (Gaetano Mosca) known as bureaucracy. The main task of bureaucracy is rule implementation, meaning they do not decide policies, none but implement them. The bureaucratic modern state involves more specialization, but at the same time bureaucracy is a self-appointed organism, as bureaucrats appoint other bureaucrats[xix]. Bureaucrats perform bureaucratic duties without any sense of personal responsibility for the ultimate substantive purposes. The more bureaucracy is dehumanized, the more completely succeeds in its duties[xx]. While, in democratic politics, the more human are politicians, the more success they have in exerting political power:


the characteristics that distinguish the bureaucrat's setting from that of the elected politician should lead to different ways of looking at policy and different behavioral styles. The politician gives to policy general direction inspired by principles or interests or sometimes both. The bureaucrat, on the other hand, gives to policy concrete meaning derived in part from an understanding of its technical aspects and in part from negotiation with those interests immediately affected by administrative interpretation[xxi].


James Burnham has already suggested in 1941 that we were facing a managerial revolution by explaining the transition from the capitalist or bourgeois society to a managerial one characterized by the separation of ownership by control. James Burnham observes that managers are growing in number in totalitarian regimes. Thus, technicians (bureaucrats, experts, so on) must be controlled:


Communist systems in particular have taken considerable pains to ensure the loyalty of technicians […] one important role of a single party is to ensure that specialist do not grow isolated from the rest of the community and constitute a potential opposition[xxii].





“Knowledge spells power” is a famous quote that clarifies at the very beginning the relation between experts and politicians. In contemporary politics, we are facing a new phenomenon: many non-politicians hold public offices as ministries or heads of institutions that operate as ministries without ever being in front of the electorate. These experts as Mario Monti and his entire cabinet are called technocrats in several studies conducted in the last decades[xxiii]. The technocrats are to be found in many European democracies as well as in the EU institutions holding offices that traditionally have belonged to politicians.

The state of art in the field of technocracy is vague and very few political scientist tried to understand empirically this new face of democracy. For this reason, we should first clarify the term, if possible, and determine its applications, which leads us to the theory of political elites or the theory of the ruling class. The common approach towards technocrats is that they are experts in different fields or sciences or they hold a valuable diploma, etc. The expert becomes a technocrat when he/she is inserted into the public apparatus of power. So, a priori nobody is a technocrat, but it is to become one.

Meynaud makes a distinction between technicians (those who hold important functions of expertise under the control of politicians) and technocrats (those who also exercise political power and are more or less autonomous in their decisions)[xxiv]. Alfred Stepan suggests that technocrats have a chameleon-like behavior and thus the ability to learn quickly who is their political master[xxv], which means that even if they had nothing to do with politics at the moment of appointment, they quickly socialize politically and become politicians without party membership card. Instead, their legitimacy arise from scientific knowledge and is often accompanied with a certain degree of rejection of politics as inefficient and possibly corruptive[xxvi]. Although several definitions of technocrats are being currently used by scholars, very few of them try to portray technocrats in the field of political science. Thus, technocrats are


individuals with a high level of specialized academic training which serves as principal criterion on the basis of which they are selected to occupy key decision-making or advisory roles in large complex organizations – both private and public[xxvii].


A technocrat has a technocratic mentality, being a upholder of the fact that “technics must replace politics and defines his own role in apolitical terms”[xxviii].  A technocrat believes in the virtue of science and rationalization, is skeptical and even feeling offended by politics and politicians, which makes him/her disclose political value. He is not sensitive on democratic matters and the voice of the people, as the people (the demos) are not able to understand science: “The right question to ask is not «is it right» (morally or doctrinally) but rather ‘will it work’?”[xxix].

The rise of the technocrats poses the question to what extend democratic politics can be built on science. An old English saying (“experts must be on tap, but not on top”) makes us wonder whether science and expertise can replace the will of the people. As Giovanni Sartori observes we face, on theoretical grounds, a gap between powerless knowledge of those who are experts in various fields and all-powerful ignorance of politicians. It is also common sense that in order to hope for a better society the expert opinion must be heavier than his vote as elector. Moreover, knowledge and power are two forces that simultaneously contribute to the creation and maintenance of the modern liberal state:


In all the aspects of government work, two forces are entwined: knowledge and power. The rise of specific technical knowledge can be traced to the transformation of the state from the personal possession of a sovereign to an institution whose purpose is to protect and care for its citizens. Once governing started to be about something other than the person of the sovereign (‘the prince’), it required collecting and analyzing information about the population in order for the state to be effective in carrying out its primary duties. The word ‘statistics’ dates from the emergence of the state’s need for accurate knowledge. Knowledge without power, however, is helpless. The state has to have the power to shape its population and the factors impinging on it so that society runs well. Citizens become, in a sense, natural resources for the fashioning of an effective state. Bringing knowledge effectively to bear requires means-ends calculations, which put statistical information and analysis to work to achieve the goals of the state. Governing is no longer about the prince and his personal skills and wisdom (or lack of them); now it is about knowledge and power as they are put into practice by a governing apparatus[xxx].


Nevertheless, Sartori observes that the danger lies in transforming democracies in “technological sophocracies” in charged with choosing the objective good life[xxxi]. The demo-power (democracy in input) and the demo-benefits (democracy in out-put) are not in an equilibrium if too much power is entrusted to experts. Professional expertise is in fact a crucial resource for the modern state as long as it not misused, as argued bz Stivers:


First, professionals tend to assume that the kind of knowledge they possess is not only necessary but outweighs other knowledges in importance—for example, the knowledge ordinary people have about common life facts. Second, as Michel Foucault argued, government professionals play a major role in shaping the self understandings of the state’s citizens. They shape us as clients of government, recipients of benefits, applicants for permits, taxpayers, students, patients, prisoners, foster children and parents, payers of child support, users of recreation facilities, residents of public housing, and so on. Residents of modern states derive a lot of their sense of self from their relationships to government; according to Foucault, the point of the activities of governing is to encourage people to understand themselves in ways that promote their obedience to the state. He insists, however, if that were all there is to governing, we could simplistically conclude that government oppresses everyone. That aspect is not all there is to it: We need to escape from the dilemma of being either for or against. One can, after all, be face to face [with a government], and upright. Working with a government doesn’t imply either a subjection or a blanket acceptance. One can work and be intransigent at the same time. I would even say that the two things go together[xxxii].


Jean Meynaud study reveals the image of the technocrat as a public figure with a clear scientific orientation who acquires influence in the high government circles because of his (or her) specialized skills and expertise especially in the fields of economic policy, finance, and state administration[xxxiii]. Nowadays in most of the European institutions in the political offices are many technocrats to be found, and the bureaucracies of the member states in the system of the European Union manage rather successfully to bypass the control of their national parliaments, by shifting problems of decision-making to the European level. It is rather obvious that political responsibility is scarce and diffuse as in what Max Weber would have called “an organized irresponsibility”.








In order to understand how much power is entrusted to the technocrats in Romania, we should start from the analysis of Romanian political scientist Daniel Barbu who observes that after the downfall of the communist regime the exercise of political power was entrusted to people that were specialist in various fields of knowledge or expertise during the communist regime[xxxiv]. In his studies on democracy and democratization Giovanni Sartori rhetorically asks: “How much power we are prepared to entrust to the experts [?] So long as he proposes and advises, this is only a necessity”[xxxv]. Considering the tension between technocrats and technocracy on one side and democracy and democratization on the other side, I have tried to perform an statistical analysis on Romanian democracy in order to test the hypothesis that the neoliberal approach is specific to all Romanian political parties and they all offer political offices to technocrats.

The database on ministers in post-communist Romania is formed of all the ministers starting with the Teodor Stolojan cabinet (October 16th 1991 – November 18th 1992), which I considered to be the first constitutional, so not provisional, Government of Romania following the fall of communist regime. The last cabinet to be investigated is Victor Ponta II, which although is still in office, it has suffered a reshuffle on the December 17th 2014. In this sense, the interval I investigate is October 16th, 1991 – December 17th, 2014, meaning 8097 days in total. I have also counted in the database the delegated ministers because they are part of the cabinet and attend the weekly cabinet meetings headed by the prime minister. I did not considered the ad-interim ministers, because all of them are appointed from the ministers already in office for not more than 45 days.

I have considered a politician-minister[xxxvi] someone who at the time of appointment was a member of a political party or is an adherent of a political party or movement or in the past has tried to get an office through elections. In short, a politician is someone who assumes she/he does politics, is someone who deals with the electorate, is getting closer to the citizens and upholds with them a dialogue in order to represent politically the people. Meanwhile I have found that a third type emerges, that of technocrats that become politicians and during their terms as ministers they enroll in a political party and assume a political vision. I shall call them technocrat-politicians. Whatsoever all these three categories and not even close pure Weberian ideal-types in Romanian context for reason that I will discuss later on.  

Considering all the database, Romania has had in the considered interval 392 ministerial appointments, meaning 277 persons appointed. From 392 appointments 332 were appointed politicians (84.6%), 53 times technocrats (13.5%) and 7 (1.7%) times technocrats that became politicians during their term. Overall 43 technocrats were appointed. If we were to consider how many days the technocrats have governed Romania in percentage the outcome is relevant: 19.52 % of the total number of days have the technocrats spend in ministerial offices, which is almost a fifth of the total.

Other relevant facts are figures tell us that a minister spends in office an average of 670.5 days, while a minister appointment last for 473.8 days. Comparing with a full term (1460-1465 days) these numbers prove that in the last quarter of century in Romania there has been a great governmental instability in ministerial offices. A possible explanation might be that on governmental instability basis technocrats are often offered position in the cabinet as people of sacrifice or even scapegoats for short terms in order to cure the public image of the political parties. Another fact is that in the case of the entire ministerial population the median (382 days) is a lot smaller than the average value (473.8 days) which means that there is a high degree of instability for a minister term. If we were to consider only the technocrats, the outcome is even more striking: 25% of appointments last for less than 133 days, while in the case of politicians less than 228 days. The difference is high, proving that on one side, technocrats are more likely to be used as scapegoats, and one the other side that political parties are in lack of human resources when it comes to specialist in various fields of governance.

I have divided the realm of governing in two major areas considering that every government governs people, as well as things. Thus, some areas belong to the administration of things (finance, economy, defense, foreign affairs, environment, transportation, interior, industry), and others to the administration of people (education, health, labor, justice). By dividing the government in these two realms, I can test the hypothesis that technocrats are entrusted to govern in technical fields, rather than in those involving a closer relationship with the people. Nevertheless, the facts in Romania are not very relevant: 27 technocrats have had ministerial offices governing people, and 33 governing things. Indeed, technocrats are more likely to govern in the technical areas, but, in the same time, we should be aware that those ministries are double in number than the others.

Below I present the histogram of the entire ministerial population and separately for politicians and technocrats. As it can be easily seen the most prominent categories of ministers for all three histograms are to be found in the first quarter, which sustains the idea of governmental instability. The standard deviation (figure 1) measuring the spreading of data as against the average value is 362.72 days, while the coefficient of variation is 76%. This means that there is a high degree of heterogeneity against the mean in the data. Thus, most of the ministers have either a very short of a very long term, proving once again governmental instability (figures 1, 2, and 3).


Figure 1. Term days of ministerial population

Source: Designed by the author.


Figure 2. Term days of politicians

Source: Designed by the author.


Figure 3. Term days of technocrats

Source: Designed by the author.

The chart below shows the number of ministers appointed by appointment day for the October 16th 1991 – December 17th 2014 period by type: politicians and technocrats. As one can observe most of the technocrats were appointed at the egdes of the analysed time frame.


Figure 4. Number of appointments, by type, between October 1991 and December 2014 in Romania

Source: designed by the author[xxxvii].


Bartolomeu Stănescu, a Romanian interwar Bishop, PhD student of Emile Durkheim in Sorbonne, and a political thinker who developed a Christian Democratic framework for the interwar period was a suporter of democracy and liberalism to a certain point when he changed his view in a radical manner arguing that Romania needs a technocratic state in order to overcome the mentalities of the Ancient Regime by creating the Academy of Verified Skills (Academia de Competenţe Verificate)[xxxviii], as the main governing body composed aut of 200 technocrats with no party affiliation or party history. His project dates back from the 1930s and it is, in fact, an intellectual indignation againts the Romanian interwar failed democracy. Attempts to overcome the failed democracies are to be found in many political regimes, but the replacement of democracy itself with technocracy, although seems an utopia, pushes further the question on how much power is to be entrusted to technocrats and whether our contemporary political regime turns into a technocratic one.





Does the word technocracy, that is the rule of technocrats, have a coverage in reality? In order to understand if our contemporary regime has certain characteristics of technocracy we shall use some definition of the scholars who had already delt the topic. Thus, Jean Meynaud describes technocracy as “the political situation in which effective power belongs to technologists termed technocrats[xxxix]. Centeno defines technocracy as “the administrative and political domination of a society by a state elite and allied institutions thet seek to impose a single, exclusive policy paradigm based on the application of instrumentally rational techniques”[xl]. Trying to establish the origins of rise technocratic power and regimes, Centeno developes five causes: complexity of tasks undertaken by the regime,  legitimation of the regime (but in the relation with international institution and with its own citizens) by reference to performance criteria, institutional autonomy of state organizations associated with experts, regime stability and the Position within the World System[xli]. The experience with totalitarian regimes in Europe and with bureaucratic-authoritarian regimes in South America that had a major part of technocrats in power is due to make us pessimistic as they did not lead the countries to democratization.

In turn, Giovanni Sartori rightly warns that the relative increase in the technocrats’ power observed in modern societies does not have to mean increased power for technocracy itself. As he puts it, even when scientists govern, it does not necessarily mean that they govern like scientists. In modern history “technocracy has not had a very wide direct public influence, but much has been taken from it both by New Dealism and also by communism and fascism”[xlii], while it has failed to distinguish between engineers and managers. This is why we need to perform a distinction between technology (as means) and politics (ends), as also between legitimacy and efficiency. 

The distinction between technocrats and politicians is not very clearly stated in Romania where, technocrats are often individuals with a high degree of political socialization not just in the democratic contemporary era, but also during the communist regime[xliii]. After the fall of the communist regime, the political elites where interested in building an constitutional regime on democratic façade basis (pluripartidism, the right to vote, a new constitution etc.). The political parties were from the beginning constitutionalized, meaning that they were established as being part of the state:


Postcommunist decision-making felt the need to constitutionalize parties, to explain and rationalize in constitutions and laws the role and mission assigned to parties and to party competition[xliv].


The issue here is how the two Weberian concepts of legitimacy and efficiency relate to each other. On one side legitimacy is the basis of political authority and it is produced in democracies through the ballot box, on the other side any government need a certain dose of efficiency in order keep the people satisfied. In classical liberal democracies the ruling elite is obliged to take the test of elections in order to exercise political power as office holders. Conversely, the people as the political subject of the constitutional establishment, are bind to comply with the laws enforced by the political power. On the other side, the concept of 'efficiency' is not a political science concept as such, but it is borrowed from management and business administration. In very few words, efficiency occurs when the same amount of output in produced at lower inputs. As political scientist Claus Offe suggest an equilibrium in the relationship between efficiency and legitimacy ca be achieved if:


1. the acceptance of the legitimating rules of democratic and constitutional regimes is reinforced by the material outcomes of governmental measures and policies; 2. if these measures and policies are 'efficient' in the only way a capitalist state can be efficient, namely, in successfully providing, restoring and maintaining commodity relationships for all citizens and for the totality of their needs[xlv].


We should presume that in every democratic political regimes an balance between legitimacy and efficiency is (to be) established, meaning that politicians cannot govern without experts and experts could not put into practice their skills without the consent of politicians which means that experts are “objects rather than subjects, means rather than ends in themselves”[xlvi].





We cannot speak of technocratic regimes in Romania or anywhere in the EU, as we might find them in Latin America in the 1930s, but some tendencies have occurred in the last decades by co-opting technocrats in ministerial offices. In democratic terms it seems a very negation of politics because the political has been put aside and replaced with non-political. Moreover, the political has been transformed into the code of a self-maintaining administrative subsystem, so that democracy is in danger of becoming a mere façade[xlvii]. In Romania in particular after the tendency observed by Daniel Barbu, that is the appointment of technocrats in ministerial position immediately after 1989, we have faced a period when very few technocrats obtained a place in the cabinet (2000-2013). In 2014 not less than 8 ministers were technocrats, meaning that the trend returns.  

The issue at stake is to find an answer at the following question: While politicians are limited in their actions by political parties and citizens, bureaucrats by strict regulations, who limits technocrats? Democracy as a political regime based on political representation is struggling with itself to eliminate the secrecy in policy formation. Secrecy was a central theme in non-democratic regimes, when citizens were not able to participate in political life. They were only governed on scientific basis, and were forbidden to take part in the governing process. The art of governing is not a science as Gaetano Mosca suggests:


This art of governing is not political science, though it has, at one time or another, anticipated applications of a number of the postulates of political science. However, even if the art of governing has now and again enjoyed prestige with certain classes of persons who have long held possession of political functions, knowledge of it has never served as an ordinary criterion for admitting to public offices persons who were berred from them to social station. The degree of mastery of the art of governing that a person possesses is, moreover, apart from exceptional cases, a very difficult thing to determine if a person has given no practical demonstration that he possesses it[xlviii].


Romania is a battlefield for two major political visions, both of them being favourable to the appointment of technocrats in ministerial position. On one hand, there is a form of neo-communism that makes political parties to behave as part of the state and, as a consequence, to use scapegoats in order to govern. To govern and to make politics, as Daniel Barbu suggests, are not the same thing in Romanian post-communism. This is to be translated as a disjunction between what politics means (to win elections, to form alliances, to stay in power etc.) and what to govern means (to regulate on scientific basis, to develop public policies etc.). On the other side, Romania is very favourable to a neoliberal approach towards effiecientization of the state, even if that means less access to politicians in ministries.

Where is this going? The analysis I performed brings us in front of another research challenge. We should recall that for Marx, politics will cease to exist and be replaced by the administration of things on scientific socialism basis. There was a friendly relationship of technocracy and authoritarian and totalitarian regime. It is worth to be mention here the Nazi regime, the short-lived technocratic movement of the 1920s in the United States, Spain under Francisco Franco whose policies of industrialization and modernization were supported by a select group of Opus Dei technocrats and closer to Romania the experience of scientific socialism in Central and Eastern Europe. The lack of political representation in ministries is to be transformed in greater obedience towards European policies developed in Bruxelles and less dialogue with the Romanian people. Democracy seems to transform its nature from representative to delibertative, while politics is not a matter of political will, but a game of chess whose pawns are the technocrats.





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[i] ACKNOWLEDGMENT This paper has been financially supported within the project entitled „SOCERT. Knowledge society, dynamism through research”, contract number POSDRU/159/1.5/S/132406. This project is co-financed by European Social Fund through Sectoral Operational Programme for Human Resources  Development  2007-2013. Investing in people!

[ii] Also see my previous work on deliberative democracy in Guvernanță și postpolitică. Un drum cu sens unic, in Alexandru Mamina (coordonator), Capitalism și democrație. Principii, structuri, evoluție, Cetatea de Scaun, Târgoviște, 2013, pp. 99-126.

[iii] András KOROSENYI, “Political Representation in Leader Democracy”, Government and Opposition, Vol. 40, No. 3, January 2005, pp. 371-373. 

[iv] On postdemocracy see Colin CROUCH, Postdemocracy, Polity, Cambridge, 2004.

[v] I used Constituțiunea din 1866 cu modificările din 1879, 1884, 1917 [The Constitution of 1866 with the changes of 1879, 1884, 1917], Viața Românească, București, 1921. My translation from Romanian.

[vi] 1844. Proect de Constituție pentru Moldova. Alcătuit de M. Kogălniceanu, in C. D. DIMITRIU, Pentru Reforma Electorală, Imprimeriile Independența, Bucharest, 1912, p. 131. 

[vii] C. M. CIOCAZAN (deputat), Regimul representativ [The representative regime], Tipo-Litografia Națională Ralian și Ignat Samitca, Craiova, 1898, p. 14. 

[viii] Ibidem., p. 108.

[ix] Ibidem., p. 109.

[x] Constantin G. DISSESCU, Dreptul constituțional, the third revised and completed edition, SOCEC, București, 1915, pp. 404-416.

[xi] Idem., Cursul de Drept Public Român profesat la Facultatea de Drept din Bucharest [Lectures on Public Law held at The Faculty of Law of Bucharest], Stabilimentul Grafic I. V. Socecu (…illegible), București, 1890, p. 296.

[xii] James H. MEISEL, The Myth of the Ruling Class. Gaetano Mosca and the `Elite`, with the first English translation of the final version of the Theory of the Ruling Class, The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1958.

[xiii] Gaetano MOSCA, The Ruling Class (Elementi di scienza politica), translation by Hannah D. Kahn, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York and London, 1939,

[xiv] Carl SCHMITT, The Concept of the Political (translated with an Introduction by George Schwab), University of Chicago Press, Chicago/ London, 1996, p. 19-44.

[xv] Max WEBER, Political Writings, edited by Peter LASSMAN and Ronald SPIERS, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2013.

[xvi] I will refer here to some exemples such as prime minister Tony Blair, who has joined the Labour Party at age 22, and Gerhard Schroder at age 19.

[xvii] Gaetano MOSCA, “On the Ruling Class”, in Talcott PARSONS (ed.), Theories of Society: Foundations of Modern Social Theory, Free Press, New York, 1961, p. 599.

[xviii] Shalini SATKUNANANDAN, “Max Weber and the Ethos of Politics beyond Calculation”, American Political Science Review, Vol. 108, No. 1, 2014, p. 169.

[xix] Eva ETZIONI-HALEVY, Bureaucracy and Democracy. A Political Dilemma, revised edition, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 2010 [1983], pp. 54-62.

[xx] Shalini SATKUNANANDAN, “Max Weber…cit., pp. 169-195.

[xxi] Joel D. ABERBACH, Robert D. PUTNAM, Bert A. ROCKMAN, Bureaucrats and Politicians in Western Democracies,  Harvard University Press, Cambridge/ Massachusetts/ London, 1981, p. 85.

[xxii] Jean BLONDEL, Comparing Political Systems, Praeger Publishers, New York/Washington, 1972, p. 139.

[xxiii] Massimiano BUCCHI, Beyond Technocracy. Science, Politics and Citizens, translated by Adrian Belton, Springer, London & New York, 2006; J. BLONDEL and F. MULLER-ROMMEL, Cabinets in Eastern Europe, Palgrave, New York, 2001;

[xxiv] Jean MEYNAUD, Technocracy, Free Press, New York, 1964.

[xxv] Alfred STEPAN, State and Society, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1978, pp. 57-58.

[xxvi] Miguel Angel CENTENO, “The New Leviathan: The Dinamics and Limits of Technocracy”, Theory and Society, Vol. 22, No. 3, 1993, p. 313.

[xxvii] David COLLIER, (ed.) The New Authoritarianism in Latin America, Princeton University Press. Princeton, 1979, p. 403.

[xxviii] Robert PUTNAM, “Elite Transformation in Advanced Industrial Societies. An Empirical Assessment of the Theory of Technocracy”, Comparative Political Studies 10(3), p. 385.

[xxix] Christina RIBBHAGEN, “What Makes a Technocrat? Explaining Variations in Technocratic Thinking among Elite Bureaucrats”, Public Policy and Administration, Vol. 26., No. 1, 2011, p. 24.

[xxx] Camilla STIVERS, Governance in dark times: practical philosophy for public service, Georgetown University Press, Washington, D.C., 2008, p. 110.

[xxxi] Giovanni SARTORI, The Theory of Democracy Revisited. Part Two: The Classical Issues, Chatham House Publishers, Chatham, 1987, p. 433.

[xxxii] Camila STIVERS, Governance in…cit., p. 112.

[xxxiii] Jean MEYNAUD, Technocracy… cit., pp. 21-69.

[xxxiv] Daniel BARBU, Die abwesende Republik, Frank & Timme GmbH, Leipzig, 2009.

[xxxv] Giovanni SARTORI, The Theory of Democracy Revisited. Part Two: The Classical Issues, Chatham House Publishers, Chatham, 1987, p. 433.

[xxxvi] Although there are very few public data on ministers from the 1990s, I have established that a minister was a politician or not through interviews with politicians. I am deeply grateful to Mr. Victor Opaschi, currently serving as State Secretary for Religious Affairs, for his contribution.

[xxxvii] Deeply greatful to Professor Elena Druică (University of Bucharest) and PhD candidate Andreea Mirică (Bucharest University of Economic Studies) for the help with data analysis.

[xxxviii] PS Vartolomeu STĂNESCU, Puterile sociale ale creştinismului:  opere alese, Editura Muzeului de Istorie Galaţi/Eikon, Galaţi & Cluj-Napoca, 2014, pp. 643, 657-658.

[xxxix] Jean MEYNAUD, Technocracy… cit., p. 29.

[xl] Miguel Angel CENTENO, “The New Leviathan…cit.”, p. 314.

[xli] Ibidem., p. 316 and further.

[xlii] James BURNHAM, The Managerial Revolution. What is Happening in the World, The John Day Company, New York, 1941, p. 202.

[xliii] Daniel BARBU, Die abwesende Republik…cit.

[xliv] Alexandra IONESCU, “When policies make (up for) politics: lessons from Romanian postcommunism”, p. 6, available at

[xlv] Claus OFFE, Contradictions of the Welfare State, edited by John Keane, Hutchinson, London, 1984, p. 138.

[xlvi] Michael J. SANDEL, “The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self”, in Tracy B. STRONG (edited by), The Self and the Political Order, New York University Press, New York, 1992, p. 83.

[xlvii] Jűrgen HABERMAS, “THE POLITICAL”. The Rational Meaning of a Questionable Inheritance of Political Theology, in Judith BUTLER et al., The power of religion in the public sphere, Columbia University Press, New York, 2011, pp. 15-16. 

[xlviii] Gaetano MOSCA, “On the Ruling Class”, in Talcott PARSONS (ed.), Theories of Society: Foundations of Modern Social Theory, Free Press, New York, 1961, p. 599.