The book was inspired by French work in the history of statistics, such as Alain Desrosières’s The Politics of Large Numbers A History of Statistical Reasoning (Cambridge Harvard Univ Press 1998) and by the eclectic brand of French theory from Foucault to Latour and Callon assembled by P. Miller and N. Rose, “Governing economic life” Economy and Society 19, 1 (1990).
The narrative of Statistics and the German State is in many respects a counterpoint to Tim Mitchell’s thesis about the making of “the economy” in the postcolonial context first outlined in his “Fixing the economy” Cultural Studies 12,1, 1998 and in the brilliant Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity (Berkeley, CA: The University of California Press, 2002). For a discussion of Mitchell in light of Statistics and the German State see my recent working paper “Unfixing the economy” (2016) presented at the “Foucault, political life and history” at the LSE 17 June 2016 chaired by Colin Gordon and Patrick Joyce. Download here.
Those wishing to revisit the terrain of Statistics and the German State, may enjoy the long chapter that I contributed to the official history of the German Wirtschaftsministerium Volume I edited by C.L. Holtfrerich. This essay, based on substantial new archival research, updates and substantially reworks the narrative of my first book for the Weimar period. It links the development of German official economic statistics more closely than ever before to the politics of reparations and offers new material also on the drafting of the Wagemann reflation plan of 1932. The essay will appear in German but an English draft is downloadable here, along with a table in excel format here summarizing the results of a hitherto unknown estimate of industrial production produced in February 1921.