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I thank Alessandro Stanziani and the editors of Slavic Review for bringing the problem of quantitative economic history to a diverse readership. Colleagues divided between departments (economics and history) and by method (positivist and critical) tend not to publish in the same journals or attend the same panels. This is a rare opportunity to share in a discussion. Allow me to use Stanziani's points as an occasion to go further and to discuss how I have appreciated numbers in some of mydoi:10.1017/slr.2017.4 fatcat:p33sylu7rra5ljqgruiscdyisy