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News Where do maths people generally stand on the political spectrum?

  1. Sep 29, 2007 #1
    Id think theyd be rational free market types but some maybe more socialist wanting more funding for maths departments.

    I didnt realise there was a general area here till today.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2007 #2
    My guess would be that they cover the political spectrum. I'd also guess that they cover the extremes of the spectrum more than the average citizen i.e. the distribution curve would be flatter because highly intelligent people often have quite independent ideas. The often have crackpot ideas too, because logical ability is very different from common sense.
    But guesswork's just guesswork. It would be interesting to see a study.
  4. Oct 5, 2007 #3


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  5. Oct 5, 2007 #4


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    What exactly do you mean by political spectrum. Do you mean in terms of social things like gay marriage and abortion, or do you mean things like taxation vs no taxation? I've only seen hints of money-related bias.

    From what I've seen, it mostly depends on who their employer is. I'm currently taking a course on investments and tax efficiency, taught by a guy who is a career investor and financial planner, and I can tell that he is a hardcore financial conservative. The concept of capital gains tax makes his blood boil because in his words "I'm taking a risk in an attempt to make money, and the government wants to take my gains. If I lose money, why isn't the government there to refund my loss?"
    In other courses, I've seen math teachers give an example of how a tax increase of a small percentage at a high tax bracket can bring in a hell of a lot more tax money than a large percentage gain at a low tax bracket; he's showing us this for a reason, and as you already guess, he was a government employee.

    If I had to make a blanket statement for all people with relatively good math education, it would be that people who are middle class or better, who work in the non-union private sector, generally favor conservative fiscal policies. On the other end, middle class or better people who work union or government jobs favor liberal fiscal policies. These are blanket statements that obviously don't apply to everybody. The neat part is that political affiliation seems to have little or nothing to do with income level. I know a few people in Georgia and Florida who are fairly young, 20-25, support themselves (don't live with parents), have low paying jobs, and are still very pro-republican.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2007
  6. Oct 6, 2007 #5

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    I think the OP was talking about mathematicians, not just people with a good math education. For a one word blanket generalization of mathematicians, I suggest pacifist.

    I've known several mathematicians who agree with Hardy ("real mathematicians can glean a modicum of comfort from the fact that 'real' mathematics has no application in war"). I talked about this with a PhD mathematician recently. He admitted that there is more than a grain of truth to this.

    However, the main reason he went into mathematics was because he was lazy. Math is easy!
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