The politics of numbers in the age of austerity

The inherent power of numbers explains why all sorts of data, good or bad, can become a potent weapon to shape complacency and subservience in society.

Welfare cuts have become a common phenomenon in the age of austerity, especially in Europe, where conservative policies carry the day. As with the cuts recently proposed by George Osborne in the UK, these reforms hit the poorest and leave the wealthy almost unscathed. What is more, they are presented with an aura of inevitability thanks to the dubious statistics dominating our modern economies. Most politicians are fond of dishing out data as they are fully aware that the sense of neutrality these numbers provide makes people more willing to accept welfare cuts. Indeed, governance by numbers de-politicizes decisions. The appearance and design of such statistics are structured around the notion of evidence. When we see a number, we perceive certainty. Factual information. Numbers are not like words, which require interpretation. Numbers are a source of authority in so far as they reveal truth. And truth cannot be disputed. But have you ever wondered what these numbers actually mean?

Read my full article here: http://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/lorenzo-fioramonti/politics-of-numbers-in-age-of-austerity

About these ads

2 responses to “The politics of numbers in the age of austerity

  1. Have youu ever thought about adding a little biit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and everything.

    Nevertheless think about if you added some great photos or videos to give you posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with image and video clips,
    this website could undeniably be oone of the most beneficial in its field.
    Terrific blog!

  2. Fantastic sikte you have here buut I was
    curious about if you knew of any community forums thast cover the
    same topics talked about here? I’d really love to
    be a part of online community where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable people that
    share the same interest. If you have any
    suggestions, please let me know. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s