HKS Affiliated Authors


November 2023, Paper: "Metrics and other forms of quantification as technologies for rendering knowledge as measurable, usually quantitative “data,” in simplified, legible, and portable ways, have become increasingly central within discussions of the economy, and these quantitative tools have equally become the subject of anthropological discussion and critique. The motivations behind and effects of numbers in the field of “responsible finance,” already a space where the “ethical claims” of the economy are made explicit, have themselves become the center of ethical discussion, both within the field of responsible finance and among those anthropologists studying that field. The authors of this article (one an academic, one a practitioner in impact investing, and one a hybrid academic-practitioner in climate finance) respond to the argument that we suggest is implicitly or explicitly present in most of the work around quantification and metrics, namely, that quantification acts as a kind of “antipolitics machine,” rendering political problems as technical ones and simplifying complex realities."