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8 of China's Top 9 Govt. Officials Are Engineers

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    and all of ours are scientists.

  • 9 our of 9 Chinese top officials promote blatant economic slavery in an attempt to increase their power. These people aren't stupid, but they are very dangerous and exploitative of the population.
    • So how would YOU take a billion people out of poverty? The fact is, when there are a billion people waiting in line for a job, wages will be low. Institute minimum wages you say? Say goodbye to companies who will setup their factories elsewhere. Give everyone a social safety net? How, when you have nothing to give? Because of China's economic policies, people are taken out of poverty every day.

      Compare this to the current US government: tax cuts for the richest, bailouts for the big banks (TARP and the Feds

      • So how would YOU take a billion people out of poverty?

        Not having a 12 step plan to create a billion jobs doesn't disqualify one from criticizing human rights abuses.

        Institute minimum wages you say? Say goodbye to companies who will setup their factories elsewhere.

        I don't hear anyone saying "If China would just raise minimum wages, everything would work out PERFECTLY!!!" Hell, I think even morons on cable news would propose a more nuanced plan than that.

        The fact is, when there are a billion people waiting in line for a job, wages will be low.

        Citation needed. What's the critical mass of population at which you are doomed to have low wages?

        Compare this to the current US government: tax cuts for the richest, bailouts for the big banks (TARP and the Feds ~0% interest rates), subsidies for the oil companies. This comes all out of the pocket of its taxpayers, to further enrich the richest.

        I think there's a false dichotomy going on here. The US being screwed up does not make the Chinese good.

        • Re:Slavery (Score:5, Interesting)

          by purpledinoz (573045) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @01:05AM (#36175082)
          My main point is, whenever the name "China" comes up, people scream "Human rights abuse", "slavery", etc. Yes, they have a point. China needs to improve its attitude towards human rights. I would say the same to Burma, Russia, Pakistan, etc. But people single out China for such strong criticism, ignoring any progress they have made. I also wish people were so critical of their own government as well and its human rights abuses, like Guantanamo Bay.
  • by wulfmans (794904) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @11:08PM (#36174388)
    Ever think that the US might have gown down the WRONG road ?
  • Interesting. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mirix (1649853) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @11:14PM (#36174422)

    Surely China is lacking in a lot of areas, but I do find this interesting.

    I grow really weary of western leaders being almost completely lawyers, polsci majors, bankers, economists, and the like.

    It would be nice to have some ministers that actually come from the field they are in charge of more often than now, at least. Lawyers and bankers make laws for bankers and lawyers, go figure.

    • Well my congressman is a physicist [house.gov], neener neener.

      I'll take that over somebody who believes that some big invisible guy in the sky is controlling everything.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CupBeEmpty (720791)

      I said it a few comments down... but I will take lawyers, polisci majors, bankers, and economists who support liberal democracy in a heartbeat over scientific leaders who endorse prison camps, massive censorship, brutal suppression of political dissent, for some reason want to crush the most non-threatening [wikipedia.org] people on the face of the planet [wikipedia.org], and who (at the very minimum tolerate) endorse forced sterilization [time.com]!

      • Re:Interesting. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by mirix (1649853) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:49AM (#36174976)

        Because, obviously, all engineers and scientists will do this - given power - right?

        I'm not saying the west needs a government like China, far from it. In fact my comment really has nothing to do with China, other than the fact that they coincidentally have some non-lawyers in charge. A stopped clock reads correct twice a day and all that.

        I'd merely like to see a little more heterogeneous group in power here, with some scientific minded types involved.

      • Re:Interesting. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by bug1 (96678) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:55AM (#36175018)

        An ex work mate of mine was a Chinese nationalist, he expressed his opinions on these matters.

        He said china considers the Tibetan leaders to be exploiting its people, the tibetan people didnt have much, and they should have to give it to their leaders. China was trying to 'liberate' the people of tibet. Its the same excuse the US used to to invade iraq.

        Falung-Gong is considered to be a font for the pro-democracy movement. Remember how the US persecuted communists and anyone associated with them, well, same thing.

        Of course two wrongs dont make a right, and these reasons probably justify such actions in the eyes of most westerners, but its wise to at least consider the opinion of the other side rather than just listen to the biased media of one side.

        • by bug1 (96678)

          woops, meant to say
          "and these reasons probably DONT justify such actions in the eyes of most westerners"

        • by guanxi (216397)

          He said china considers the Tibetan leaders to be exploiting its people, the tibetan people didnt have much, and they should have to give it to their leaders. China was trying to 'liberate' the people of tibet. Its the same excuse the US used to to invade iraq.

          Falung-Gong is considered to be a font for the pro-democracy movement. Remember how the US persecuted communists and anyone associated with them, well, same thing.

          Of course two wrongs dont make a right, and these reasons probably justify such actions in the eyes of most westerners, but its wise to at least consider the opinion of the other side rather than just listen to the biased media of one side.

          To say these things are comparable because similar words were used to describe them is absurd:

          * The US invaded Iraq in 2003, deposed a brutal dictator, handed the government to the Iraqi people who select their own leaders (who often oppose US policy), and now is leaving within 10 years. China conquered Tibet in 1951, imposed a Communist dictatorship ruled from Beijing in which the Tibetans have no power or representation, even took over their religion, and claims Tibet will be eternally part of Chi

      • Re:Interesting. (Score:5, Informative)

        by drolli (522659) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @04:34AM (#36176200) Journal

        I dont believe that democracy in China would work better if it would be managed by the Chinese banker and lawyers and political majors.

        Having lived in Germany i can say that the last professions where the culture was strongly influenced by Nazi ideology are the lawyers(/courts) and the philosophical sciences. The law system in Germany took 40 years to begin to reflect on its own role during this time. And some of the banks never reflected where their money came from.

        This is because *by definition* being part of the legal system requires you to "be on the side of the state" in sense of your ideology. If at a single time this field adheres to the Idea of a "strong state" in the negative sense, that is a state consisting of the people in power (chosen by god, by money, or as some kind of elite), not of the people in general, then its very unlikely that the legal system will give up this view very quickly - the people in power will understand how to use this legal system.

        This usually involves that people who oppose in some sense are declared to be "enemies of the state" and therefor have less rights. You can observe this idea nearly everywhere, and i would think that the western world, where the US are discussing if torture is ok again for suspected terrorists, and the European union not sending help to refugees on the Mediterranean sea and letting them drown, where its only 25years ago that the French secret service sunk the Rainbow warrier as enemies of the state, should be a little more humble when claiming ideals.

        If you look closely to china you see that many, if not most of the human rights violations are *not* a centrally controlled act from Bejing (I exclude the question of Tibet, which is purely driven by the fact that the West wants a stick to poke China from time to time and China need to prove itself exactly because of that reason). Many things happen because locally (on the province-and city-level) the local officials actually dont want to have the central government and laws invading into their personal business, and the police and courts etc. also are - effectively - controlled by them.

        If i look at China i am actually amazed that they managed to progress so well, despite that a large class of people in their system would profit from the situation staying constant. Looking at other parts of the world with a similar starting point, i can say that the human rights situation in China seems to be slowly improving, with bumps, and sometimes not in the direction like the West expects it, but the police and law system seems to get more and more stable.

        The Chinese which i know (most of them are scientists) are usually well-informed, capable of critical thinking and confirm this view, and they overall feel that the things develop to the better.

        My personal opinion is that there are dangerous paths down the road for China, and the west should try to help China to master these problem as much as we can - the best way to do this IMHO is to invite as many Chinese as we can into the West to work and stay for some time or longer, so they can look at it and hopefully the best (not the worst) of what they see and what can work there back with them.

        This does not mean we should not mention where we think something is going wrong, actually we should, but i think it would be more productive to keep political interests out of it.

    • The "Iron Lady" was a chemist from Oxford, 'nuff said.
    • by Sky Cry (872584)
      It seems to me that people, who make laws affecting the economy of the country, should understand the implications of these laws. Hence they should be versed in law and, more importantly, macro economics.

      The alternative is worse: laws that have good intention, but end up having good economic reaction only in short term. While in the long term the reaction would be completely reversed, making the consequences the opposite of what was intended. This is quite common in economics.
  • are active religious members.

    Chinas economy is growing without having to steal oil
    Americas economy is falling even after stealing oil.

    i see a pattern.
    • Chinas economy is growing without having to steal oil Americas economy is falling even after stealing oil.

      To be fair, we didn't steal it nearly as cost-effectively as we could have, and the economic failings weren't directly related to religion, a lack of scientists in government, OR the stealing of oil.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      america is not alone in that pasttime..

    • Chinas economy is growing without having to steal oil

      lol yeah, they arrest people [wikipedia.org] to push down the price of iron ore. Then they steal technology for high speed trains [wsj.com]. Then they sell poisoned baby food [wikipedia.org]. But those are minor issues, you missed the most important points.

      The main difference between China and the US, economically speaking, is that Chinese officials are trying a managed economy. They reward companies they like, and punish companies they don't like. They try to steer economic growth. Whereas the US has a more traditional approach of not interferi

      • by astar (203020)

        On stealing high speed train tech... I figure I read that story some time ago. My recollection is the chinese had a unifed negotiation team whipsawing the different western vendors against each other. No stealing, just real clever hard ball. We are not even talkng MPAA pirating here. So what exactly is the criticism that generates "stealing".

      • by Barrinmw (1791848)
        I dunno, not interfering in the housing market might have been a boom for a little bit, but no regulation of mortgage banks did cause a global recession that wiped away all that economic growth and then some.
      • There is a huge difference between what China is doing, and what USSR did.

        There were no companies in USSR - not independent, not even semi-independent. It was truly a planned economy, where all movement of money and of goods was fully planned ahead from up above to form one grandiose scheme. This broke down because the complexity was beyond anything manageable, and because the incentive become corrupt in such a system is very high.

        Chinese tried that and it worked no better for them. Now, they've transitione

    • by poity (465672)

      to that I'd reply that Chinese Confucianism is just as dogmatic and anti-liberal as any religion in the West, and the acuteness to which Chinese citizens acquiesce to nepotism just as damning to their future.

  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @11:20PM (#36174466) Homepage Journal

    Hey fellow geeks, tell me what you think about population control.. are you fundamentally opposed to involuntary sterilization or do you think it might sometimes be the right solution?

    Some of the scariest social policies that I've ever heard have come out of the mouths of engineers. We're inherently heartless bastards who consider ourselves intellectually superior and so should have the right to sweep aside individual rights for what we consider to be the greater good.

    For many of us, it has taken years of deprogramming to free ourselves from the "our kind know better" mindset.
     

    • so, engineers are like Borg?

    • Has it ever once occurred to you that there is a hard, cold reality outside of whatever "politically correct" bullshit you like to think about. Sure, millions of Americans think that population control is wrong. Mostly for religious reasons.

      But even if every human being on the planet were opposed to it, there is a REALITY we live in. And in that reality, there is finite living space, farmland, and resources available for a given level of technology. (granted, technology gradually lifts the limits but po

      • by aekafan (1690920) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:59AM (#36175054)

        Go look at Africa to see what happens when there's no control.

        Funny thing is, the problems in Africa have absolutely nothing to with the population. Hell, they have a low population for the amount of arable land on that continent. Their problems stem from the thugs and olgiarchs and kleptos running the various governments in Africa, If you could get good leadership, the population on that continent could greatly expand with out harming the land.

        Try again with a better arguement

        • by bye (87770)

          Go look at Africa to see what happens when there's no control.

          Funny thing is, the problems in Africa have absolutely nothing to with the population. Hell, they have a low population for the amount of arable land on that continent. Their problems stem from the thugs and olgiarchs and kleptos running the various governments in Africa, If you could get good leadership, the population on that continent could greatly expand with out harming the land.

          Try again with a better arguement

          In other words the problems in Africa have everything to do with too weak governments or with no government at all (think Somalia).

          A thug running a diamond business, monopolizing a country's institutions is not 'government', it's a thug running a diamond business who managed to kill or control all other thugs and thus managed to monopolize. Dictatorship is the ultimate end game of free-for-all archeo-capitalism: the big fish has eaten all the small fish.

          Is that the model of society you envision for Americ

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      I'm ok with population control. if we don't do something, we WILL have to implement involuntary sterilization in order to survive. I'd start with tax incentives... first two kids get an education on the state..after that, you pay.. how about reforming the welfare system so that it doesn't reward people with no money from getting married and pumping out the kids. just for starters..

  • Minor quibble... (Score:5, Informative)

    by SnapShot (171582) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @11:20PM (#36174470)

    > Did you know that the president of China is a scientist? President Hu Jintao was trained as a hydraulic engineer.

    So, he's not a scientist, he's an engineer. That's not a slam against engineers (or scientists) but I believe that the two outlooks are very different.

    • >Did you know that China doesn't have a "President" in any meaningful sense [wikipedia.org] of the word? President Hu Jintao is an "organ of the state" who is a figurehead for the National People's Congress, a largely powerless body selected by the Chinese Communist Party [wikipedia.org].

      So, he's a figurehead not a president. That's not a slam against presidents (or figureheads of repressive oligarchies) but I believe that the two outlooks are very different.

    • Completely agree. Also annoyed with how the headline disagrees with the summary about "engineers" vs. "scientists or engineers". It's like watching the facts getting scraped out of the content and thrown aside. Goddamn, journalism is just the worst thing ever. It makes me want to go watch old Edward R. Murrow broadcasts to remind myself that there was a point in time where communication was valued, and journalistic integrity wasn't just something for quaint academics.
    • by Cochonou (576531)
      He is probably both, as many engineers or scientists. These fields are often mixed nowadays - there are a lot of people primarily working as engineers that are using scientific method to perform research, and a lot of people primarily working as scientists that are using engineering knowledge to develop practical solutions.
      Now, that does not mean he is a good leader, which is probably a bigger problem.
  • by bcrowell (177657) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @11:20PM (#36174472) Homepage

    The slashdot headline says "8 of China's Top 9 Govt. Officials Are Engineers." The slashdot summary says, "8 out of China's top 9 government officials are scientists or engineers," in a link to singularityhub.com. Singularityhub says "In fact, 8 out of China's top 9 government officials are scientists," in a link to forbes.com. Forbes.com doesn't say anything about 8 out of 9 anything.

    So we have some possibilities: (a) 8/9 are engineers (slashdot headline); (b) 8/9 are scientists (singularityhub); (c) 8/9 are scientists or engineers (slashdot summary); (d) none of the above (original source, forbes.com).

    This stuff about comparing the US's science and engineering to China's is just plain dumb, and not only is it dumb, it's getting really, really old. Didn't we have enough of this in the Sputnik era?

    Some reality checks: (1) Science is not a zero-sum game. If someone in China publishes a really good scientific paper, it makes the US better off, not worse off. (2) The US is a capitalist country, where labor is a market, and the value of a particular skill is set by supply and demand. If employers are having trouble hiring enough scientists, they'll offer higher pay for scientists. Ditto for engineers. (3) Chinese higher education sucks to high heaven. US higher education is the envy of the world. (How many US college graduates do you know who go to China for grad school?) (4) Science and engineering are two different things.

  • While we here in this forum respect engineers and scientists (because we are one of them,) they don't necessary make great leaders by any mean. So far, these 8 Chinese top officials, like the 8 preceding them, are just following the game plan set up by the early true leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, neither of whom are engineers but career generals and politicians. You can even claim the current leaders are "better" because they have not committed massive wrongdoings such as Great Leap Forward or Cultu

  • by ddd0004 (1984672) on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @11:21PM (#36174482)

    100 out of 100 are laywers in the US and not the attractive altruistic 22 year old laywers that you see on TV.

  • Scoff at the concept of democracy or freedom of information.

  • The Chinese consider science and technology extremely important for the development of their state. There are many, many universities in China which focus SOLELY on producing Engineers. Not a surprise they'd prefer those sorts in people positions of power than the Western world, who for some reason prefers lawyers.

  • In the US most of our leaders are trained as lawyers. How many people in China were graduating with law degrees 40 to 50 years ago (anyone remember the cultural revolution?) Rule of law hasn't been practiced in China for a very long time, so being trained as a lawyer hasn't been as useful there and I suspect it has been quite risky. Suppose you had been trained as a lawyer before the communists took over. As a lawyer you would have been involved in government - making you a target when the cultural rev
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 18, 2011 @11:42PM (#36174622)

    Firstly these are not scientists, they are politicians with engineering degrees.

    Secondly, they are also all second and third generation Communist Party Members, their parents were all big CCP players, what makes you think they had to do any work to get their qualifications? Every one of them was virtually guaranteed to get a degree no matter what their ability.

    Third, even if they did their work, have you even been to any Chinese universities? All but the very top two are shockingly terrible, and I teach at a Chinese university, the standard here is.....shocking, cheating is so rife that it makes nearly all tests worthless it doesnt even compare to the crappest community college back home.

    Fourth, have any of these people actually worked as engineers or have they been politicians all their life?

    Fifth, what makes you think an engineer would be better at running a country than anyone else?

    This smells like something put out by the people daily.

  • How many constitutional law professors, human rights lawyers, or social scientists do they have in top government places?
    Engineers serve valuable roles and are certainly well qualified in many respects, but running a country that's both successful and treats its people well requires wisdom that no college degree can ever confer. I take it that kkleiner meant to imply that China has set the standard in some way, and that other nations do themselves a disservice by not having as many engineers in top decision

    • by cusco (717999)
      A lawyer thinks, "If we make a law saying such-and-such then our desired outcome will auto-magically occur." Economists are much the same. Engineers realize that in order to have the desired Outcome E you first need Conditions A, B, C, and D, and that Condition A has Prerequisites X, Y and Z.

      Peru has had a series of generals and lawyers running the country, and one engineer. The country progressed more under the Fujimori government than the previous three decades, and most of the last decade has bee
  • That gov. efficiency starts with intelligent scientists and engineers? Perhaps it is time that we simply hire decent ppl, rather than ppl like reagan and W.
  • Are you telling me that China is run by people who have been trained to make informed decisions based on hard facts? We stand no chance, unless we luck out and rapture comes on may 21st. [ebiblefellowship.com]
  • I'm an engineer. There's no way in hell that I ever pretend that I'm a scientist. We're practical. We execute science, not discover it (generally speaking).

  • by Ghostworks (991012) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:34AM (#36174906)

    I've seen this story before, and my response is the same now as then: this is because of different expectations of the nations' leaders.

    The Chinese government has full control over everything in its borders: laws, people, economic output. It's leaders can direct the entire nation however they see fit. That means the best leaders have to be able to cope with the things they can't control: the immutable limits of physics and economics. The job of any engineer (which, I might add, is not the same as scientist) is to solve problems in the best way possible with available tools under the available constraints. The Chinese toolbox is wide open, so the constraints are all physical, and an engineer's knowledge is directly applicable.

    In the U.S., the people have chosen a different route: the government does what we specifically tell them they can. The constraints are primarily legal, because the government (relatively speaking) is allowed to do very little. A lawyer's ability to navigate the mine field of who is likely to be affected, who is likely to sue, and what is likely to be shot down in court is more useful to the high-level bureaucrat. Actual problems of a sort an engineer or other knowledge worker would face are the responsibility of others. There jobs are derived from a very small part of the very small leeway we give the government. (This abundance of lawyers in government is also why the American people put a premium on military experience, since it's the government department most steeped in harsh, broad-focus, real-world logistics.)

    Both of these can be compared to, say, France, where the government is the nexus of the economic, legal, and even social circles. It controls industry more directly at times than the U.S. government, so businessman represent a larger share of leadership (about a third). The legal issues are similar to the U.S., but with the government fundamentally allowed more direct intervention. Hence lawyers and former lower-level bureaucrats each take about another third of the leadership roles.

  • by poity (465672) on Thursday May 19, 2011 @12:36AM (#36174920)

    I wrote my previous post in haste, so I didn't get to explain why China's government has so many engineers.
    Today's top leaders are in their mid to late 60s, some even in their 70s, which means they began their higher education in the 1960s and 1970s. That was a time before the Economic Reform era, and China was still a planned society with a planned economy, which meant that post-secondary education and later career were assigned centrally. You took your national college entrance exam in high school, and your score determined which university you went to and what piece of the workforce quota you would later fill. Engineering was a tough field then as it is now, and what do you know the higher you scored the more likely you were assigned to an engineering school. These bright kids joined the party, went into politics, and carried their degrees along with them. One should not make the mistake of assuming it was because of those degrees that they have succeeded in China's political environment, nor to assume that they are better leaders due to that engineering degree above some other had they had the freedom to choose.

  • Engineers are taught and generally have an interest in solving tough problems and finding efficiency once the simple problems are solved. To me it makes sense that Chinese Gov. officials would be engineers. The culture as a whole generally is interested in both dedication to family and efficiency. Lawyers and poly sci theorists generally are interested in determining the best way to obfuscate rules in order to achieve goals. Those may be for the greater good or selfish goals. I think programmers could make
  • In authoritarian societies people are just cogs in the machine, serving those in power. It takes engineers keep the machine running.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten

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