The Tyranny of Metrics

The Tyranny of Metrics

Jerry Z. Muller

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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