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What good can politicians be to engineers?

1/27/2017 04:56 PM EST
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Re: Poll addition
perl_geek   1/28/2017 2:49:15 PM
Absolutely agree!

Possibly phrased as the line that should be at the bottom of every ballot; "None of the Above".

I seem to recall a science fiction story about an engineer in an underwater habitat, which ends in disaster thanks to a political decision, but my seach-fu seems to be failing today. Does anyone recognise the original?


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Mommy, what's a politician? Ask your father!
DMcCunney   1/28/2017 1:59:45 AM
The thing that gets forgotten is the politicians are elected officials.  Their first and over riding goal is to get reelected, and their time horizon is the next election.

When a bill hits a politician's desk, (s)he'll have one of three reactions:

My consitiuents will like it.  It will get me votesI'm in favor!

My consitiuents won't like it.  It will cost me votesI'm opposed!

My constituents won't care one way of the other.  So I'll do a deal.  My support for you on this thing you want, in exchange for your support on this thing I want that my constituents will like!

The last is where the work gets done.

And I saw an interesting tome lately on the issues of democracy, that makes a case that the problem with government isn't corruption, cronyism, corporate lobbying, or any of the other charges normally made.  It's that government fails by trying to give the people what they want.

But what they want is often mutually contradictory, and generally not what they actually need.  No surprise "behavior in such cases is unspecified".

I'll vote for politicians getting out of the way and letting engineers get on with the job.  Staying out of the way includes not doing things that will make it difficult for engineers to get funding to have jobs to do.  But that funding should not come from the government - it should come from the marketplace, and that means staying out of the marketplace and letting it work.  Government tends to do things intended to redistribute wealth, but you must  have wealth to redistribute, and government efforts on those lines tend to prevent the creation of the wealth needed.



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The question could be posed rather differently
abraxalito   1/27/2017 10:55:08 PM
In agreement with the above post - the question seems malformed in that it makes the assumption that politicians can in fact do some good. But their highest good is done when they simply get out of the way. At all other times they're a distraction.

Susan Rambo
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Poll addition
Susan Rambo   1/27/2017 6:26:31 PM
If I could add another line, i would add "Leave us alone." What would you add?

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