Monday, 6 July 2009

Every Quantitative Measure We Have Says Robert McNamara Has Died

By his own admission Robert McNamara admitted the gullibility of having blind faith in your assumptions.

Famous for claiming about US endeavours in the Vietnam War that "Every quantitative measure we have shows we are winning this war" His statement is a classic of managerialist thinking that shows just how crazy over-reliance on numerical metrics is when trying to determine social behaviours and outcomes. He came from a school of thought that claimed that only rational scientific methods should be used for determining policy. Take the subjective and the emotional out of the equation and you are closer to the truth.

The fact is Mr McNamara has died. It is also true that his thoughts and opinions live on as fascinating historical perspectives on a diverse and high power career. So has he really died?

His legacy? Whilst maybe not directly attributable to Mr McNamara the 'sanitised' measurement and reporting of warfare is from his time. bodycount, megadeath are just a couple of terms that echo from the past. We might also remember that the term strategic hamlet does not refer to a well earned cigar whilst pondering the latest loss of ground to the enemy!

Posted via web from Gullibimundi

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