Making It Count: Statistics and Statecraft in the Early People’s Republic of China

book_Making it Count

Arunabh Ghosh
Princeton University Press, 2020

Available to be reviewed, please contact tapuya.lasts@udlap.mx

In 1949, at the end of a long period of wars, one of the biggest challenges facing leaders of the new People’s Republic of China was how much they did not know. The government of one of the world’s largest nations was committed to fundamentally reengineering its society and economy via socialist planning while having almost no reliable statistical data about their own country. Making It Count is the history of efforts to resolve this “crisis in counting.” Drawing on a wealth of sources culled from China, India, and the United States, Arunabh Ghosh explores the choices made by political leaders, statisticians, academics, statistical workers, and even literary figures in attempts to know the nation through numbers. Continue reading