Synopses & Reviews
Numbers dominate global politics and as a result our everyday lives. Credit ratings steer financial markets and can make or break the future of entire nations. GDP drives our economies. Stock market indices flood our media and national debates. Statistical calculations define how we deal with climate change, poverty and sustainability. But what is behind these numbers? By what processes are they created? In How Numbers Rule the World Lorenzo Fioramonti reveals the hidden agendas underpinning the use of statistics and those who control them. Most worryingly, he shows how numbers have been used as a means to reinforce the grip of markets on our social and political life, curtailing public participation and rational debate.
An innovative and timely exposé of the politics, power and contestation of numbers.
About the Author
Lorenzo Fioramonti (@globalreboot) is associate professor and Jean Monnet chair in regional integration and governance studies at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, where he directs the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation. He is also senior fellow at the Centre for Social Investment of the University of Heidelberg and at the Hertie School of Governance, Germany, as well as associate fellow at the United Nations University. He is the author of numerous books about development policies, global and regional governance, alternative economies and social progress indicators, including Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World's Most Powerful Number (Zed Books, 2013). He blogs at www.globalreboot.org.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The politics of statistics
1. The power of numbers
2. New global rulers: the untameable power of credit rating
3. Fiddling while the planet burns: the marketization of climate change
4. Measuring the unmeasurable: the financialization of nature
5. Numbers for good? The quest for aid effectiveness and social impact
Conclusion: Rethinking numbers, rethinking governance