(The Humanitarian Social Network)
What would happen if you ran a whole country as a development project? By development project, I mean running a whole country, or at least large parts of if, by log-frame. I mean running a country by indicator - impact, outcome, output, activity - all the indicators that NGOs have to deal with?
I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad idea; I'm just asking what happens? Imagine you could tie the performance contract of the economic development minister (nationally or provincially) to actual, measurable outcomes. Imagine someone could get fired for not creating 2 million new jobs in five years. Now imagine this was really, actually happening. Imagine a situation where a government official was judged legally, actually, based on socio-economic indicators.
How does that kind of accountability, the accountability donors care about, interact with democratic elections? Imagine this situation in a developing country (it shouldn't be hard to imagine) where the majority of the population does not understand statistics. Imagine the situation where the majority of civil society (never mind the populace) doesn't understand results.
I spent a day recently with people who are mostly statistitians and who care a lot about measuring impact. I love what they do and I love the idea of a government guided and ruled by the same kind of impact indicators I work with every day. I love the the idea of a government that cares about stas. Yet I am bothered by ethical concerns. If those who are most in need, if those who most need to participate in the democratic process can't understand the very indicators that make me both happy and sad, what happens? Can a system really be sustainably, be accountable where the government is a development agency and works by indicators the same way an NGOs does?
I work in a country where the state has decided it wants to be a developmental state. That is a tough call for the state but if it is going to happen the reality does requre a developmental monitoring framework. So, the question is, how do development (i.e. log-frame) measurement tools interact with accountability? How do logical, developmental measures interact with democracy?