May 23, 2015

The Economist
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London SW1A 1HG

You report a dearth of young, able politicians.  (Lexington, Not Running but Fleeing, The Economist vol. 415 no. 8938 May 16, 2015 page 30) It is outside my comfort zone, but my impression is that in ancient Greece they spent a lot of time trying to understand the universe but a bit less actually measuring it, at least if you look at what comes down to us.  Other ancient civilizations did indeed measure.

 Current technology empowers us to measure quite well, and I have no doubt you are quite correct that the number of young people interested in politics has fallen.  A brief glance at the basics makes that understandable.

 Politicians tend to be high status folks, who marry far from their local extended family.  This produces a fall in fertility.  Pardon my links, but check out:
For the fraction of society that so suffers the most, there is a disproportionate effect.  Check at least the last five minutes of

 I cannot aver that a dynasty offers consistent performance.  The first George Bush won my respect by refusing to attack Baghdad.   The second had rather the opposite approach and opposite result. 

 Still in all, if you want to have the choice of a lot of eager public servants, you’d like them to have a lot of babies; that won’t happen until the scientific articles reported in the links above are known and widely understood and, this is the hard part, correlated.


M. Linton Herbert MD

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