Governance by Numbers - Introduction

Governance by Numbers


Governance by Numbers by Alain Supiot is the title of a book published in 2015, and based on two lecture series given at the Collège de France, "From government by laws to governance by numbers" (2012), and "Figures of allegiance" (2013).

The film “Governance by Numbers” gives an overview of the book in the form of an extended conversation, divided into seven illustrated chapters. As Supiot's complex thinking on the history of Law and on modes of human government unfolds, we come to understand how law, like the arts and sciences, has always structured the human imaginary, which is the true link betwen the real and the ideal, and the substratum of civilisations. However, Supiot argues, with the disappearance of the industrial imaginary, we have entered the era of the cybernetic imaginary, which revives the West's age-old dream of grounding social harmony in calculations. Repudiating the goal of governing by just laws, this new discourse advocates in its stead the attainment of measurable objectives efficiently. This leaves no option open to populations or countries than to ride roughshod over social legislation, and pledge allegiance to those stronger than they are. "Governance by Numbers" is a hard-hitting indictment of the Total Market and the normative uses of economic quantification, and a powerful pedagogical tool for understanding the subtleties of the law, the failings of the European Union, and the shockwaves of institutional change which are transforming our epoch.


A Conversation with Alain Supiot

A film proposed by Philippe Petit
Directed by Cyril Bérard

Production - Fondation Hugot of the Collège de France
Production Manager – Florence Terrasse-Riou

Executive production - Betavita
Executive Producer - Cyril Bérard