General Question

pallen123's avatar

What are some good phrases to dismiss the importance of bean counting?

Asked by pallen123 (1507 points ) September 24th, 2012

I’ve heard the phrase “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin”. What are some other analogies or phrases people use to question the importance of measuring things that are difficult to measure or imprecise? Is the Heisenberg Principle or Red Shift relevant?

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6 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

“There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

“You cannot feed the hungry on statistics” – Heinrich Heine

“A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.” – Josef Stalin

“It’s clearly a budget. It’s got a lot of numbers in it.” – George W. Bush

LostInParadise's avatar

There is this familiar quote from Albert Einstein:
Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
ETpro's avatar

Just calling someone a bean counter is usually pretty dismissive.

Earthgirl's avatar

I have always loved this one by Robert Frost:
The Hardship of Accounting

Never ask of money spent.
Where the spender thinks it went.
Nobody was ever meant
To remember or invent
What he did with every cent.

dabbler's avatar

@LostInParadise‘s Einstein quote, beat me to it.
Also: jackass-with-a-spreadsheet or Selective wilful ignorance.
and: “Just another jerk, taking pride in his work” (Timbuk3)

All of these refer to the consequences of externalizing costs, leaving things off the analysis that might lean toward a different conclusion.
I don’t think red-shift or Heisenberg are relevant in these cases.

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