Chapter 10: From per capita income to the Human Development Index: a pathway for imagining development through numbers
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This chapter traces a cooperation pathway between economists who were involved in the creation of three (sets of) global development indicators: gross national product (1940s); indicators of basic needs (1960-70s); and the Human Development Index (1990) as well as subsequent Human Development indicators (2010s). While the economists aimed at supporting development processes by way of their expertise, their pathway is a development process in itself: Through reflexive engagement with their previous choices and their consequences, they collected – and implemented – insights on what must be observed in order to create high-quality global development indicators. The economists' choices were shaped by their imaginations of how others would use 'their' indicators in the future, as well as how they had used them in the past. An extensive discussion of the results of the analysis relates these to the book's underlying conceptual framework and addresses relevant aspects of conflict and power.