chapter  1
31 Pages

The world in numbers

WithStephen Morse

Indicators bridge the divide between those whose job it is to know about the world and those who are asked to manage that world. Olympic success has been seen as highly desirable by many countries over many years, and those countries have invested resources accordingly. The Olympics used to be a great bastion of amateurism, where athletes are not full-time and train alongside doing their regular job. The Olympic medal table is an example of the world in numbers. Each nation state ends up with a single numerical value: its rank in the medal league table. The message to take away from all of this is that a careful selection of team size and events entered could help enhance the prospects of a country doing well in a medal table based on success rate. Indicators are fundamentally different to this world of science.