Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do we need more engineers in government?

Its very interesting that the number of students applying for Engineering and Science courses at University has - at last - started to rise. In the UK anyway.

Have you ever thought about why it is that there are so few engineers and scientists in UK and US government. 

The UK’s cabinet has six PPE (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) degrees, five history degrees, three law degrees, and plenty of other arts and humanities graduates.

The fact that most come from a couple of universities concerns me less than the fact that the 'gene pool' in terms of education, experience, ways of thinking 
and problem solving seems very narrow indeed.
Politicians in the UK are often heard decrying the fact that we don't have enough engineers - they presumably don't mean in Government. They mean in industry. 

Countries like China on the other hand have its politburo full of scientists and engineers. Hu Jintao, the country’s president, graduated with a degree in water conservancy engineering, while the rest of the group consists of chemical, electrical and radio engineers and the the odd geologist.

I'd like to advance a theory as to why this very obvious disparity between some western democracies and China in the people we get to lead us and take the profound decisions which affect our and our children's lives.

In the UK and the US, to get elected you need to be an orator, have the 'gift of the gab', be charismatic, media friendly, articulate, persuasive. Not necessarily the strengths of the average engineer or scientist  - or anyone else with left-brain hemi-spherical dominance.

Does our democratic process unfairly disadvantage the engineers and the scientists?

In China, those that get top marks in the Sciences, its seems, get to the top.

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