Another China space chief appointed to political post


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

The new colonial movement: The head of China’s space agency has now been promoted to a political post as acting governor of the Fujian province in China.

The significance here is that this is not the first time a space agency manager in China has moved into an important political role. Three previous space administrators have already become governors of different Chinese provinces (the equivalent of states here in the U.S.) As was noted in an article I linked to in May, the managers of China’s space agency now dominate its entire government. This not only bodes well for its space program (giving it great political clout), but it also bodes well for China’s political system, as they appear to be appointing their political people based not just on power, but on administrative skills and talent.

This process is also interesting historically. For almost two thousand years China’s government was managed under the bureaucratic philosophies of Confucius, whereby administrators had to pass a difficult intellectual test to become certified. They then moved up the ranks.

It seems that these cultural roots are deep and on-going. China appears now to be replacing that test (which with time became hidebound and disconnected with the changing times, especially when the European powers arrived in the 1800s) with actual management experience in major industries. If you want to get promoted into higher positions of power in China, you need to demonstrate that you can manage a company or a space program effectively.

Share

3 comments

  • Cloudy

    In the United States, high level people in the administrative state and in politics are mostly trained as lawyers. Many have not worked as lawyers for a long time, if ever. But that is how they were trained. Even in the private sector, a great many leaders come from law schools.
    Nearly all of people in high places in America that are NOT lawyers are trained in managing people or money. Almost none of them are trained in the hard sciences. The few that are, tend to be in the information technology. Even Elon Musk got his start there.
    If you want to work with the physical world in the United States, be prepared for a hard life. You can work as a low status (but not always low wage) blue collar mechanic, plumber, electrician etc. If you go to college, you can become an engineer or scientist. This will give higher status than a plumber, if you can make it. But you will work much harder for the same grades as your buddies studying the humanities while preparing for law school. If you like the math and want to work that hard, better study accounting or something in information technology. That has far more of a future to it than something like physics or chemistry.
    The further a given field is from the physical world, the easier it is to find work in it, the easier it is to advance once you enter, and the further you can go once you enter. There are exceptions….most notably in the medical field. But in general this holds true. If you absolutely insist on working with the physical world, use data mining and computer models. Even then, you will be holding yourself back. The top guys(yes, they are mostly men) in the natural sciences are mostly tenured professors, or are working for someone with a law degree.
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that lawyers are any worse than the rest of us. The legal system provides a valuable service to society. Also, I don’t believe the US is totally on the wrong track. But this is an important and under discussed issue. Something is lost when a society’s leaders come to the job with such a narrow range of expertise.

  • wayne

    Jordan Peterson:
    Postmodernism: How and why it must be fought
    2-25-17 Manning Centre Conference
    https://youtu.be/Cf2nqmQIfxc
    12:00

  • Edward

    Cloudy wrote: “Nearly all of people in high places in America that are NOT lawyers are trained in managing people or money. Almost none of them are trained in the hard sciences. The few that are, tend to be in the information technology.

    I would add engineers to those who are trained in leading people or managing money (Grace Hopper noted that you manage things but you lead people). Engineers eventually are given projects to manage, and that means budgets to meet and people to do the work. An engineer who gets into project management tends to move away from working at the level that most likely enticed him into the field in the first place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *