Project (2005-2006)

Of Telescopes and Footprints—Indicators, Statistical Observation, and Political Perception

Rafael Ziegler primarily worked on two case studies. The first one, on the Traum vom Umweltraum, studied the “eco-space” approach that has been proposed by economists and civil society actors since the late 1980s as a way to “operationalize” sustainable development. The second case study, Pareto’s limestick, considered statistics on personal income distribution, which were first used used by Vilfredo Pareto so as to debunk socialist egalitarian concerns with what he understood to be a scientific demonstration of inequality, but which nonetheless strongly influenced egalitarian political philosophy in the second half of the twentieth century. The two case studies formed part of Ziegler's doctoral dissertation, “Visions Need Accounts,” which examined political perception and its complicated relation to statistics.