The quest for numerical metrics of accountability is particularly attractive in cultures marked by low social trust. And mistrust of authority has been a leitmotif of American culture since the 1960s. Thus in politics, administration, and many other fields, numbers are valued precisely because they replace reliance on the subjective, experience-based judgments of those in power. The quest for metrics of accountability exerts its spell over those on both the political left and right. There is a close affinity between it and the populist, egalitarian suspicion of authority based on class, expertise, and background.
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