The poverty of numbers: reflections on the legitimacy of global development indicators

Morag Goodwin
2017 International Journal of Law in Context  
It is no surprise that development institutions and actors have taken to indicators with such enthusiasm. Where indicators are both a form of knowledge production and simultaneously a technology of governance, they are a form of soft powers that allow such actors to set the standards for what it is to be developed in the twenty-first century. Such measures of civilisation have been dominant throughout a history of Global North–South encounters: measurement was central to the many forms of
more » ... many forms of colonial control, from map-making to craniometry, to the global 'discovery' of poverty in the 1940s. This paper seeks to place development indicators in this colonial context by focusing on the issue of comparability or the global claim that underpins global development indicators.
doi:10.1017/s1744552317000404 fatcat:meq3ncimhbfsrciq7jp72we6xa