Since the mid-twentieth century Albert O. Hirschman has been known for his innovative, lucid, and brilliantly argued contributions to economics, the history of ideas, and the social sciences. Two central and already widely admired essays in this collection explore new territory. The title essay distinguishes among four very different conceptions of the characteristics and dynamics of capitalist societies. A related plea for embracing complexity is made in “Against Parsimony,” a wide-ranging critique of traditional economic models. In other writings Hirschman revisits his own views on economic development, the concept of interest, and the roles of “exit” and “voice” in economic and social systems. This volume reaffirms the powerful originality and enduring value of Hirschman’s work.
Albert Hirschman is one of those remarkable scholars occasionally mistaken for more than one person. There is Hirschman the political theorist, best known for his classic Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. There is the Hirschman of The Passions and the Interests, the historian of ideas; and Hirschman the institutionalist, the practitioner or European reconstruction and Third World development, the adviser to foreign governments… For readers only dimly familiar with Hirschman’s oeuvre, his latest collection, Rival Views of Market Society, is…a kind of reprise, a recapitulation that includes variations on earlier themes, reconsiderations, and embellishment of familiar leitmotivs, with both echoes and charming reversals… There could be no better guide toward a revived discipline of institutional political economy.
These ten essays…are vintage Hirschman—original, authoritative, and penetrating contributions to both economics and the broader social sciences…truly stunning as reflections of Hirschman’s special insights and formulations, of both what has been and what yet may be.
- 208 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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