Mis-measuring the Development Century: Economic Growth and its Discontents
What is the history of the meaning and measurement of economic growth? How did we come to understand the economy as a quantifiable social space that can be made to expand or shrink? In Mis-measuring the Development Century, Stephen Macekura reconstructs a transnational history of economic statistics and growth theories, investigating how and why these concepts gained cultural and political power as the dominant measurements of a country’s well-being. He also uncovers myriad reformers who criticized persistent flaws in the growth discourse, such as the misplaced faith in economic growth as a panacea for social and political ills, and the wide-ranging reliance on economic indicators as authoritative representations of the social world.
Stephen Macekura is assistant professor of International Studies in the School of Global and International Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences. His research focuses on U.S. foreign relations, international development, political economy and environmentalism. He has published Of Limits and Growth: The Rise of Global ‘Sustainable Development’ in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2015), which analyzes how environmental NGOs struggled to implement environmental protection measures in the developing world in the 1950s and 1960s and then critiqued and reformed the development policies of the U.S. government, World Bank, and UN system in the 1970s and 1980s.