The rise of technocrats in China
Why do Chinese political leaders have engineering degrees whereas their American counterparts have law degrees?
My favorite answer, from Frank Yu:
Communism and central planning has in many ways skewed the career progression for generations of Chinese citizens. Very much like the former Soviet Union, early communist doctrine believed they were building a new society which needed people like engineers to build and forge new industries. Engineers were put in charge of infrastructure and building projects and this was a test of their ability to lead.
Compare this to the older communist leaders who if anything were doctors, teacherswriters and in Mao’s case…a librarian. Prior, to be a leader in China one needed to demonstrate some military credentials either in the WW2, the Chinese civil war, or even the Korean war. China’s current leaders have engineering or industrial backgrounds.
On the other hand, back then professions like book keeping or banking was not considered presitgious or a career ladder which is one reason China has so many senior CFOs in industry now. You see the same effect in Russia where many of the health professionals and doctors in the past were women while the men went into engineering as well.
Lawyers seem to abound in the US for several reasons in my opinion. One, its a guaranteed ticket to the middle class and regardless of all the jokes, considered a high status profession. Also, the US culture has for generations been accustomed to the rule of law and civil litigation. In developing countries, laws are ignored and courts are corrupt so lawyers themselves are ineffectual in the system. The US is a democracy and due process is respected so lawyers in my opinion have the same standing as Samurai did in Feudal Japan or gunslingers in the American frontier. They fight for you in the legal system and in theory protect you from other lawyers. IMHO We demonize lawyers in the US but we also look to them for leadership.