Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts: Information, Ideology, and Authoritarianism in China

When: Friday, October 9, 2020 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Where: Virtual

Description:

Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs 

Comparative Politics/International Relations presents


Jeremy Wallace

Associate Professor

Cornell University


Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts: Information, Ideology, and Authoritarianism in China

Jeremy Wallace will present work from his nearly completed book project, Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts. How did a revolutionary Communist party come to justify itself through statistics, and why under Xi Jinping is it shifting away from doing so? The disastrous Cultural Revolution made pragmatic politicians and ideas attractive to a population tired of turmoil amid persistent poverty. Relaxing communist orthodoxy and decentralizing governance unleashed individual initiative. Keeping watch on just a few metrics of critical importance greased the wheels of performance. The system of limited quantified vision gave incentives for local growth and improved livelihoods while allowing local officials to profit. Numbers came to define Chinese politics, until they did not count what mattered and what they counted did not measure up.


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