Throughout the world, numbers are increasingly used to guide acts of government - but not always for the better. In this volume, the author examines the "facts and figures" that have led to measures unhelpful or injurious to their intended beneficiaries. "The Tyranny of Numbers" offers a look at problems such as world hunger, the population explosion, the Third World debt crisis, and the poverty in South Africa, in which misdiagnoses have driven action. In America, the author argues, antipoverty programmes proceed without an understanding of what the data actually show about living standards and child health. And our surprise at the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the crisis in the USSR may betray an equal misunderstanding of data that revealed the weakness in those systems.