How Numbers Rule the World: The Use and Abuse of Statistics in Global Politics

Cover_Page_How_Numbers_Rule_the_World
(Zed Books, 2014)

Author: Lorenzo Fioramonti

Numbers dominate global politics and, as a result, our everyday lives. Credit ratings steer financial markets and can make or break the future of entire nations. GDP drives our economies. Stock market indices flood our media and national debates. Statistical calculations define how we deal with climate change, poverty and sustainability. But what is behind these numbers?

In How Numbers Rule the World, Lorenzo Fioramonti reveals the hidden agendas underpinning the use of statistics and those who control them. Most worryingly, he shows how numbers have been used as a means to reinforce the grip of markets on our social and political life, curtailing public participation and rational debate.

An innovative and timely exposé of the politics, power and contestation of numbers. For more info see: https://www.zedbooks.net/shop/book/how-numbers-rule-the-world/

Citizens vs. Markets: How Civil Society is Rethinking the Economy in a Time of Crises

(Routledge, October 2013)

Citizens vs MarketsAuthor: Lorenzo Fioramonti and Ekkehard Thuemler

After an apparent temporary relief, the financial crisis is back full steam. The ‘double dip’ has turned into a full-blown meltdown of financial markets, public budgets and, by and large, democratic accountability. This global crisis is a fundamental wake-up call: a signal that our conventional political economy and, perhaps, the very foundations of our societies need a serious rethink. Currently, the spotlight is on the role of political elites and economic agents (especially the investors included in the vague notion of ‘markets’) and their strategies to stabilize or destabilize countries, from North America to the Eurozone. Regrettably, the actual and potential role of civil society is hardly mentioned in public debate. Yet, it is exactly within civil society that important responses to the crisis may emerge. It is within civil society that an alternative paradigm and a fundamental rethinking of conventional wisdom may be fostered. Citizens vs. Markets is the first book to unpack the transformative role of civil society in a sector in which it has traditionally been less proactive, in order to reflect on possible forms of social transformation that are not merely remedial but also constructive in nature. This is the most important struggle of our times.

For more info see: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415721653/

The Fall of the ANC: What Next?

The fall of the ANC

Picador Africa (August 28, 2013)
Author: Prince Mashele and Mzukisi Qobo

Political governance in South Africa has collapsed. Scandals of corruption, evidence of nepotism, rampant maladministration in provinces, incompetence in public offices and a general decline in the quality of leadership are there for all to see.
In the authors’ view, this state of affairs has its origins in the messiness and collapse of the African National Congress. As helplessness deepens in our society, concerned citizens ask: What will happen to South Africa?
The Fall of the ANC: What Next? seeks to answer this question of the fate that awaits the country.

Regions and Crises: New Challenges for Contemporary Regionalisms

Regions and Crises

(Palgrave, 2012)

Author: L. Fioramonti

Will the European Union survive the global economic crisis? Will the Arab Spring trigger new forms of regional cooperation in North Africa? Will Asian regionalism prevail? This volume investigates the intimate relationship between regional governance processes and global crises. Starting with a thorough analysis of the so-called Eurocrisis and its impact on the European Union, the contributors look at how regional cooperation and integration in the Arab world, Africa, Asia and Latin America have been improved or challenged by local and global crises. Through a selection of topical studies dealing with economic, humanitarian and democratic crises, they discuss the future evolutions of regional governance and call for a new paradigm to put ‘citizens’ at the centre of regionalism.

For more info see: http://www.palgrave.com/products/title.aspx?pid=530636

Regionalism in a Changing World: Comparative Perspectives in the New Global Order

Regionalism_in_a_Changin_World(Routledge, 2012)

Author: L. Fioramonti

Regionalism has been a key feature of contemporary international relations. As the most successful case of regional integration, the European Union (EU) has been leading the international debate. Yet, in the past few years new regional practices have emerged in other continents, thus adding to the variety and scope of regionalization processes. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the state of regionalism in a global arena ever more dominated by emerging powers and shifting political/economic balances. Against the backdrop of the global economic crisis, which has invariably weakened Europe and its integration model, the book examines the pace of integration in Africa, Asia and South America, highlighting the opportunities and challenges that the new global order poses to contemporary regionalisms. Besides a number of empirical case studies focusing on the political, economic and legal aspects of regionalization, the book also discusses innovative theoretical approaches to the study of regionalism in a post-European context.

For more info see: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415809962/

Gross Domestic Problem: The Politics Behind the World’s Most Powerful Number

gdproblem(Zed Books, 2013)

Author: L. Fioramonti

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is arguably the best-known statistic in the contemporary world, and certainly amongst the most powerful. It drives government policy and sets priorities in a variety of vital social fields – from schooling to healthcare. Yet for perhaps the first time since it was invented in the 1930s, this popular icon of economic growth has come to be regarded by many as a ‘problem’. After all, does our quality of life really improve when our economy grows 2 or 3{4b05898ae60f9b5e2d93b69cb2027f6f0d06dfa7d8f8611bbe8472c2532adfa6}? Can we continue to sacrifice the environment to safeguard a vision of the world based on the illusion of infinite economic growth?

In Gross Domestic Problem, Lorenzo Fioramonti takes apart the ‘content’ of GDP – what it measures, what it doesn’t and why – and reveals the powerful political interests that have allowed it to dominate today’s economies. He also demonstrates how GDP has little if any relevance to moral principles such as equity, social justice and redistribution, and shows that an alternative is possible, as evinced by the ‘de-growth’ movement and initiatives such as transition towns.

For more info see: http://zedbooks.co.uk/paperback/gross-domestic-problem