Numerous commentators (for example Bizony, 2006; Feenberg, 1999; Klerkx, 2004; Launius and McCurdy, 1997; McDougall, 1985; Parker, 2009a) have remarked that the technical success of NASA, exemplified by the organization of Project Apollo, also helped incubate, and validate, a rationalistic, elitist, model of societal organization, better known as ‘technocracy'. This model assumes that new technology, scientific and engineering expertise, big business and big government, can gather together around logics of efficiency and cost-effectiveness to solve an array of economic, environmental, social, and even moral problems. Thus, Project Apollo can be read as far more than a mission into Space, it was an experiment in technocracy: ‘Whether in decaying cities, outer space or Third World Jungles, American technology would overwhelm the enemies of dignity’ (McDougall, 1985: 407). Parker (2009) elaborates this technocratic thesis, quoting James Webb, NASA’s Apollo-era Administrator:
At the heart of technocratic thought is a utopian attitude towards technology. The beginnings of this way of thinking about space technology can be found in Barbara Ward’s popular book, Spaceship Earth, published in 1966. As an influential international economist on social development, Ward advised Kennedy, McNamara and Johnson. Ward’s Spaceship Earth, presents a quasi-spiritual celebration of the utopian potential of space technology: ‘ … one of the fundamental moral insights of the Western culture which has now swept over the whole globe is that, against all historical evidence, mankind is not a group of warring tribes, but a single, equal and fraternal community’ (Ward, 1966: 148). She elaborates, with reference to new transport technologies including the prospects for space travel: ‘now distances are abolished. It is at last possible that our new technological resources, properly deployed, will conquer ancient shortage. Can we not at such a time realize the moral unity of our human experience and make it the basis of a patriotism for the world itself?’ (p148).