The Uncounted
The Uncounted
What we count matters - and in a world where policies and decisions are underpinned by numbers, statistics and data, if you’re not counted, you don’t count.

Alex Cobham argues that systematic gaps in economic and demographic data not only lead us to understate a wide range of damaging inequalities, but also to actively exacerbate them.  He shows how, in statistics ranging from electoral registers to household surveys and census data, people from disadvantaged groups, such as indigenous populations, women, and disabled people, are consistently underrepresented.  This further marginalizes them, reducing everything from their political power to their weight in public spending decisions. Meanwhile, corporations and the ultra-rich seek ever greater complexity and opacity in their financial affairs - and when their wealth goes untallied, it means they can avoid regulation and taxation.

This brilliantly researched book shows how what we do and don’t count is not a neutral or ‘technical’ question: the numbers that rule our world are skewed by raw politics. Cobham forensically lays bare how these issues strike at the heart of our democracy, entrenching inequality and injustice – and outlines what we can do about it.
Show More
Buy Now


Order Exam Copy

For Lecturers Only

More Info
  • January 2020
  • 200 pages
  • 138 x 216 mm / 5 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $60.00
  • 9781509536016
  • Paperback $19.99
  • 9781509536023
  • Open eBook $19.95
  • 9781509536030
Table of Contents

Section 1
Uncounted and Excluded: The Unpeople Hidden at the Bottom

1 Development’s data problem
2 The ‘data revolution’
3 We the people – but only some of them

Section 2
Uncounted and Illicit: The Unmoney Hidign at the Top

4 The Rise of Tax Justice
5 Understates
6 I provide secrecy, you’re corrupt: The making of SDF 16.4
7 False profits and uncounted capital (with Petr Jansky)

Section 3
The Uncounted Manifesto

A ‘World We Are’ Commission
A Financial Transparency Convention
Quis numberabit ipsos numerators?

About the Author
Alex Cobham is an economist, chief exectutive of the Tax Justice Network and a visiting fellow at King's College London
Show More