Social and economic indicators measure and monitor the relative level of each countryâ€™s â€œprogressâ€, be this in education, poverty, mortality, gross domestic product and so on. This essay examines indicators in the contemporary development paradigm and their use by the United Nations, World Bank, NGOs and corporations, as well as their increasing presence in global governance decisionmaking. Drawing upon a critical global studies perspective, I argue that indicators are producing and privileging certain kinds of knowledge over other kinds of knowledge that may not be so easily â€œcapturedâ€ by nationally structured numerical reductionism. Reflecting on the limitations of the Human Development Index and the United Nationsâ€™ Millennium Development Goals, I suggest that the empirical data produced ultimately mismeasure the fullness of human experience and often undervalue non-western worldviews. I conclude by returning to the insights suggested by a global studies perspective and offer a number of recommendations for envisaging and shaping a more inclusive post-development paradigm.
|Journal||New Global Studies|
|Volume||Published Online 26 November 2015|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|