What Have Happened to the Betas?
Every four years, the same argument is made: there are just too few scientists in the House of Representatives. Although, if politics is really too important to be left solely to the humanities and social sciences, why do so few engineers attend The Hague?
For several years, the number of MPs with technical backgrounds has been extremely low. Only just few MPs have completed a course at one of the technical universities or a technical college.
It’s absolutely empty in the cabinet. There is no science left in Course K after the resignation of Delft alumnus Eric Wiebes, who was previously Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate.
The probability of an increase in the number of engineers and other scientists after the upcoming parliamentary elections is nil. The betas are present, but only a portion of them are in a position to be considered.
Of course, the question is to what extent is negative thing. Scientists have many talents, but they are not really stronger politicians than the many gamma scientists that currently make up the majority of the House, ranging from public officials to political scientists and from lawyers to economists.
PASSION FOR THE PROFESSION
Technology plays an important role in each of the major tasks facing the coming cabinet. Energy transition, mobility, nitrogen: almost without exception, those who decide on it in The Hague are not specialists.
According to PvdA candidate Joris Thijssen ‘A Member of Parliament needs knowledge, so my technical education is in the right place.’
‘But it is even more important that members of parliament bring a passion for their profession. You have to get out of bed with a smile every day to do your best for the country again. ‘
Technology may not play a major role in the all-predominant corona file, but the abundance of calculations, models and graphs that may or may not be smoothing has reminded us of the fact that not all politicians automatically have the same degree of understanding of numbers. Relative and absolute numbers are used interchangeably and what exactly exponential growth is must also be recalculated over and over again.
Facts and figures no longer make much of an impression in politics. Beta politicians can probably read corona statistics better than many epidemiologists, but because they are now politicians, that professional knowledge is no longer relevant. Member of Parliament Eppo Bruins describes this shared feeling among engineer MPs as follows: ‘Even if I’m right, I don’t always get it.’
In the meantime, politics is too important to leave it to alphas and gamma’s, as Paul van Meenen describes it. Not only because all noises from society must also resonate in political The Hague, so also the voice of the technically educated.
But precisely because today’s issues are so complex. The climate issue requires knowledge of the latest technology. This is no different for the nitrogen problem, as well as for privacy protection and dealing with ‘Big Tech‘. Should the almighty corporations be dealt with or not? The development of artificial intelligence, self-driving cars, nuclear energy or not, you name it. The files require substantive knowledge; political impetus alone is not enough.
Of course It’s important that we have an understanding of political issues in order to appreciate what’s going on in the moment we’re in; similarly, when looking at products, you need to know how it benefits you, such as ‘Unslider,’ because here you can be confidently know about the tech products you will be needing in the feature.