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Can a engineer/scientist be a politician?

  1. Mar 25, 2010 #1
    Hello people =). Well im very good at public speaking and my partners in school say that im good at sociology, they call me Karl Marx. I want to become an engineer in mechanical or mechatronics(very interested in robotics), im not interested in sociology, but more in phylosphy and socialism. Yea i know the USSR failed and Stalinism was a mass muerder ideology, but i belive in the socialism of marx and workers democracy plus i also belive in stoic phylosophy, if you have food, good house, transportation, education, time to have fun with real friends and family, well for me thats hapinnes dont need the last car or monopoly etc. So the question can you be interested in math and physics and also interested in socioeconomic debate?? by the way i have 17 years and live in El Salvador(gangs, corruption and poverty are making El Salvador a bad place to live)

    PS: What you scientist/engineers think about socialism(not Stalinism) vs capitalism
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2010 #2


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    Anyone can be a politician.

    In the US, there are political representative who have been scientists or engineers.

    Look at Angela Merkel, the current Chancellor of Germany. She is a physicist.

    Eligiblity requirements do not specify exclusions for being a scientist or engineer.
  4. Mar 25, 2010 #3


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    Welcome, Alex!

    Just to let you know, we keep political discussion in its own forum, Politics & World Affairs, which is a subforum of this one.
  5. Mar 25, 2010 #4


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    Hi Alex - this interesting comment was made to me by a Taiwanese political scientist when we were discussing the Chinese confucian approach to politics (what is likely to happen as it moves out of communism and into a future that is not going to be the western system).

    He said all the Chinese leaders are engineers, while all the US and other Western leaders are mainly lawyers.

    Exaggeration of course. But also true. China is long term and systems thinking in its political approach, while the West is short term and expedient. One builds, the other debates.

    Maybe, as a future engineer, this is why a functioning socialism appeals to you? You want to see a system designed properly, with appropriate information flows and feedback.

    In China, they are tearing down old community neighbourhoods for tower blocks, but also the tower blocks have their own internet forums to recreate a sense of local neighbourhood.

    Neighbourhood political committees are being given more local power and responsibility. There is an exploration of new political structures that, as I say, are not apeing the west.

    Google "vertical democracy" if this kind of thing interests you.
  6. Mar 25, 2010 #5
    It provides bunch of nonsense .. like:
    http://opinion.globaltimes.cn/commentary/2009-10/480250.html [Broken]

    I disagree. It's just apples and organges ..
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Mar 25, 2010 #6


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    Yeah, who ever let them get away with printing garbage like....

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  8. Mar 25, 2010 #7
    Hello =). Its sounds interesting, but i feel China with mao was an olygarchy very far from socialism and now its becoming a voracius capitalism. In russia the communist party is the second biggest party so maybe in the future years socialism return to Russia, but i hope russian communist were doing homework after 1991 and learnead from the past. My fear is that (capitalism is going out of control) +(the climatic change)= (deaths) + (destruction of eviroment) + (rich companies get more and more power destroying democracy, buying politicans, buying military , buying robots, buying nanobots) it sounds crazy but could be. Its time for a world Revolution based in true socialism and i hope all skeptics be ready to criticize socialism that can be a fuel to make it go in the right direction not in becoming an olygarchy, dictadorship etc.
  9. Mar 25, 2010 #8

    Char. Limit

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    Sorry to be a grammar Nazi, but it's oligarchy, not olygarchy, which I think is rule by oil (not to say that that doesn't apply to the U.S.).

    And of course one can be a politician... you just need to know how to lie, cheat, and steal.
  10. Mar 25, 2010 #9
    Didnt know angela merkel was physicist and quantum chemist or something. I was ready Einsteins toughts abouth socialism and they are great. "Why Socialism" by Albert is very good.
  11. Mar 25, 2010 #10
    Hey guys my english is not so good, so sorry if i make to much mistakes in the wrting.
  12. Mar 25, 2010 #11

    Char. Limit

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    No worries, just correcting your mistakes.

    After all, if no one tells me I'm wrong, I'll never learn that I am. And I'd keep using the wrong words.
  13. Mar 25, 2010 #12


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    Oligarchy simply refers to a government of a few, or a minority, usually for selfish purposes.

    A cynical view, but certainly not necessarily the case.
  14. Mar 25, 2010 #13
    Anyone can be a politician if they can handle the pressures of constantly being watch and having every little mistake you make critiqued and taken as if you are a bad candidate by the other side. No way would I ever have the gusto to be a politician.
  15. Mar 25, 2010 #14
    No worries. And it looks like yours is a valid alternate spelling anyway. Char seems to have thought your spelling may have confused your meaning.
  16. Mar 25, 2010 #15

    Char. Limit

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    I know, but who knows, maybe olygarchy is different. Maybe that while oligarchy (the negative of aristocracy, according to Plato) is what you say, olygarchy is rule by oil...

    And the cynical view is usually right, at least in my own experience.
  17. Mar 25, 2010 #16


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    2017 Award

  18. Mar 25, 2010 #17
    Obama said that he thinks some small amount of megalomania is necessary to being a politician. Otherwise how do you get up in front of a whole bunch of people and say "No really, out of all of you I am the best person for this job."
  19. Mar 27, 2010 #18


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    There aren't many politicians with a science degree, but still a lot more than mathematician politicians (at least US politicians, judging from google results).

    James Garfield was kind of notable. He published a novel proof of the Pythagorean Theorem while serving as a Representative in Congress. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/PythagoreanTheorem.html

    He also was unique in another way. Back in 1880, Senators were elected by the state legislature instead of by popular election. While serving in the House of Representatives, Garfield was elected by Ohio's State Legislature to serve as Senator beginning with the next term starting Jan 1881. During the interim the nomination for Republican Presidential nominee became deadlocked and Garfield wound up being the compromise candidate nominated on the 36th ballot. He won the Presidential election, making him the only person to be a Representative in the House, a Senator-elect, and a President-elect simultaneously.

    He wasn't President long enough to judge whether his math background was an asset. He was assassinated only 4 months after taking office. Interestingly, he was assassinated by a man that had failed his entrance exams for the Univ of Michigan due to low math scores (Charles Guiteau). Purely a strange coincidence.
  20. Mar 27, 2010 #19
    The Chinese political system is so different from the American, that referring to the central committee of the Chinese Politburo as politicians is misleading. A less inaccurate description would be to call them engineers who went into management. To the extent their work is political, it is the bureaucratic politics of a large corporation or a government agency.

    On a more amusing note, here is a recent article in Slate.


    Then we have another article by Theodore Dalrymple on doctors.

    http://www.manhattan-institute.org/html/_national_review_cutthroats_in_white_coats.htm" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. Mar 27, 2010 #20
    I think that the lack of overlap between politics and science is that science requires great effort to keep from fooling oneself or other people to be done properly while politics requires the opposite.
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