Life and society are increasingly governed by numbers

The Economist - 02-21

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The Metric Society. By Steffen Mau. Translated by Sharon Howe. Polity; 200 pages; $22.95 and £15.99. MEASUREMENTS PERVADE life and society. Infants are weighed the moment they blink into the world. Pupils are graded. Schools are judged on their students’ performance, universities on graduates’ job prospects. Companies monitor the productivity of employees while CEOs watch the share price. Countries tabulate their GDP, credit-rating agencies assess their economies, investors eye bond yields. The modern world relies on such data. It would cease to function without them.