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Governance by Numbers

The Making of a Legal Model of Allegiance

By: Alain Supiot
Media of Governance by Numbers
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Published: 19-03-2020
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 336
ISBN: 9781509936977
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Series: Hart Studies in Comparative Public Law
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
RRP: £30.00
Online price : £27.00
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About Governance by Numbers

The West's cherished dream of social harmony by numbers is today disrupting all our familiar legal frameworks - the state, democracy and law itself. Its scientistic vision shaped both Taylorism and Soviet Planning, and today, with 'globalisation', it is flourishing in the form of governance by numbers. Shunning the goal of governing by just laws, and empowered by the information and communication technologies, governance champions a new normative ideal of attaining measurable objectives. Programmes supplant legislation, and governance displaces government.

However, management by objectives revives forms of law typical of economic vassalage. When a person is no longer protected by a law applying equally to all, the only solution is to pledge allegiance to someone stronger than oneself. Rule by law had already secured the principle of impersonal power, but in taking this principle to extremes, governance by numbers has paradoxically spawned a world ruled by ties of allegiance.

Table Of Contents

Part One: From Ruling by Law to Governance by Numbers
1. In Search of a Machine of Government
2. The Fortunes of an Ideal: Ruling by Law
3. Other Perspectives on Law
4. The Dream of Social Harmony by Numbers
5. The Development of Normative Uses of Quantification
6. The Law Geared to Numbers: From the Gosplan to the Total Market
7. Calculating the Incalculable: The Law and Economics Doctrine
8. The Encroachment of Governance on Law

Part Two: From Governance by Numbers to Ties of Allegiance
9. The Limits of Governance by Numbers
10. The Withering-Away of the State
11. The Return of 'Rule by Men'
12. 'Genuinely Human Work in Humane Conditions' I: From Total Mobilisation to the Crisis of Fordism
13. 'Genuinely Human Work in Humane Conditions' II: From Quantified Exchange to Ties of Allegiance
14. The Structure of Ties of Allegiance


“[T]he volume is an impressive tour de force which engages many disciplines in order to explain the main tenets of the model of governance by numbers. Its contribution to constitutional studies is remarkable as it links the rise of governance to a pervasive model of organization of many social and legal institutions.” –  Marco Goldoni, Glasgow University, International Journal of Constitutional Law

“[A] highly readable if intellectually challenging effort to pin down the effects on law of the move to 'governance through numbers'.” –  David Nelken, Dickson Poon School of Law, King's College London, Journal of Law and Society

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