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The Essential Hirschman

The Essential Hirschman brings together some of the finest essays in the social sciences, written by one of the twentieth century's most influential and provocative thinkers. Albert O. Hirschman was a master essayist, one who possessed the rare ability to blend the precision of economics with the elegance of literary imagination. In an age in which our academic disciplines require ever-greater specialization and narrowness, it is rare to encounter an intellectual who can transform how we think about inequality by writing about traffic, or who can slip in a quote from Flaubert to reveal something surprising about taxes. The essays gathered here span an astonishing range of topics and perspectives, including industrialization in Latin America, imagining reform as more than repair, the relationship between imagination and leadership, routine thinking and the marketplace, and the ways our arguments affect democratic life. Throughout, we find humor, unforgettable metaphors, brilliant analysis, and elegance of style that give Hirschman such a singular voice. Featuring an introduction by Jeremy Adelman that places each of these essays in context as well as an insightful afterword by Emma Rothschild and Amartya Sen, The Essential Hirschman is the ideal introduction to Hirschman for a new generation of readers and a must-have collection for anyone seeking his most important writings in one book.
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Table of Contents

Introduction by Jeremy Adelman vii -- Development -- Political Economics and Possibilism 1 Underdevelopment, Obstacles to the Perception of Change, and Leadership 35 The Rise and Decline of Development Economics 49 The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic Development 74 The Political Economy of Import-Substituting Industrialization in Latin America 102 The Search for Paradigms as a Hindrance to Understanding 137 A Generalized Linkage Approach to Development, with Special Reference to Staples 155 -- Markets -- The Concept of Interest: From Euphemism to Tautology 195 Rival Views of Market Society 214 Against Parsimony: Three Easy Ways of Complicating Some Categories of Economic Discourse 248 Three Uses of Political Economy in Analyzing European Integration 265 -- Democracy -- Opinionated Opinions and Democracy 284 Reactionary Rhetoric 293 Exit, Voice, and the State 309 Morality and the Social Sciences: A Durable Tension 331 Social Conflicts as Pillars of Democratic Market Society 345 Afterword by Emma Rothschild and Amartya Sen 363 Acknowledgments 369 Index 373

About the Author

Albert O. Hirschman (1915-2012) was one of the leading intellectuals of the twentieth century, renowned for his contributions to economics, the social sciences, and the history of ideas. Jeremy Adelman is the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at Princeton University. His books include Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman (Princeton).


"Adelman ... has done an excellent job of bringing together articles that express Hirschman's skepticism, as well as brilliant observation, often consisting of brilliant juxtapositions of unlikely sources... [T]hose who do sink their teeth into this work will be highly rewarded."--Choice

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