A scientist in the center of power, by Pere Puigdomènech

A year ago, in one of his last visits to Barcelona, we remembered with Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba that he was the scientific who had had more power in Spanish politics since Juan Negrin, last head of the Government of the Spanish Republic. There have not been many scientists (or doctors or engineers) in the governments of our country and, given the experience, it would be a recommendable practice.

In his dialogue 'The Republic', the Greek philosopher Plato proposed that cities should be governed by a ruling class of philosophers. His advice has obviously not been followed almost never, although perhaps the Bolshevik minorities could consider that they themselves were the carriers of the true, what enabled them to become the leaders from town. In some places there are schools where the ruling classes are formed, Britain, which has been governed by minorities trained at their universities in Oxford and Cambridge. Another good example is that of France, where there is the National School of Administration (ENA), in which to enter you have to demonstrate good capabilities intellectuals, but from which many of those who govern French politics and business have been leaving. It is significant that among the measures that President Emmanuel Macron (he himself student of the ENA) has proposed to solve the crisis of the 'yellow vests' figure the closing of the ENA, accused of forming minorities far from the interests of the people.

Scientists in the Government

Certainly, there has been scientists in the Spanish Government, and it must be said that they have coincided with the moments in which there more reforms in the state. In the last government of UCD figured Federico Mayor Zaragoza, who began to introduce the first reforms in Education and Science. In the first socialist government there were two physicists (Javier Solana Y Miguel Boyer), and in the last stage, in addition to Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, were Bernat Soria and Cristina Garmendia. At Catalan Government, the person with the most scientific experience was the 'conseller' Carles Solà in the first tripartite, but Josep Laporte, Andreu Mas-Colell or Joan Manuel del Pozo can be an example of academics committed to science and politics. Lately the engineer has joined Pedro Duque to the Ministry of Science, Universities and Innovation and Mariàngela Villalonga to the Ministry of Culture. They are few but significant examples.

Spanish governments have always been full of lawyers and economists and lately of members of those considered great bodies of officials, as lawyers or State economists, who seem to have confused their corporate interests with those of the State. More recently, we see that people who seem to consider the political career as investing in one more franchise have entered politics. They miss professionals like doctors, engineers or scientists and even entrepreneurs. It's not about fixing professional fees, there are good examples of rulers that come from syndicalism or of the local government, but of knowledge, effectiveness and good practices.

Reliability, honesty, respect and responsibility

A democratic system should not bring the government to people for its qualification but because they have convinced a number of citizens that they are the ones who want them to govern them. But scientists could give the government not only their experience in investigation. The latest European Code of Good Practice in Research points out that scientific practice is based on principles such as reliability, the honesty, respect or responsibility. It is very likely that some of these qualities, and a fine intelligence, are those that could be discovered in the politician who just left us. On the other hand, the practice of politics must need very specific qualities. For example, Rubalcaba himself had to make his scientific convictions with his deep loyalty to Socialist Party.

The practice of scientific research needs a radical thought independence that does not seem very in agreement with the way in which the political parties are governed at present. The profession of science also demands a dedication very intense, not without ambition and competitiveness, above economic interests that they are not usually a priority in its professionals. Perhaps that is why some of the best moments in the politics of our country coincide with the presence of scientists in the Government. Now he has just left us a good example.

(tagsToTranslate) Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba (t) Science

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