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‘On a mission' with mutable mobiles

Morgan, Mary S. (2008) ‘On a mission' with mutable mobiles. Working papers on the nature of evidence: how well do 'facts' travel? (34/08). Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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The task of economic planning in the new nation of Nigeria in the early 1960s tested the limits of economic technologies: its recipes for development, its possibilities of measurement, and from differences in political economy. These dimensions of the problem beset not only the Nigerian politicians and civil servants but an array of international experts: each on their own mission to make the new economy. This story of mutable mobiles is revealed in the detailed diary entries of the economist Wolfgang Stolper - a man “on a mission”, for he was charged with making “the plan”. This first Nigerian economic plan was a mobile document that cycled around a changing circle of civil servants and politicians and only gathered powerful allies amongst them because of the mutability its elements. This mutability rested on a combination of decentralized knowledge and on regional democratic preferences. And, to make a plan that would gain acceptance outside the centre of calculation, these local facts and choices had to be made consistent with each other and with the projected future of the economy as a whole. This is where economic theory came in: it created a consistency between the current and future economy so that future facts - fictions - and current facts made good travelling companions for each other in their circulations around the political and economic community.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 The Author
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2009 14:57
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 11:45
Projects: Large-Scale Technological Change
Funders:, Economic and Social Research Council

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