Albert O. Hirschman

Albert Otto Hirschman (born Otto-Albert Hirschmann; April 7, 1915 – December 10, 2012) was an influential economist and the author of several books on political economy and political ideology. His first major contribution was in the area of development economics. Here he emphasized the need for unbalanced growth. Because developing countries are short of decision making skills, disequilibria to stimulate these and help mobilize resources should be encouraged. Key to this was encouraging industries with a large number of linkages to other firms. His later work was in political economy and there he advanced two simple but intellectually powerful schemata. The first describes the three basic possible responses to decline in firms or polities: Exit, Voice, and Loyalty. The second describes the basic arguments made by conservatives: perversity, futility and jeopardy, in The Rhetoric of Reaction. In World War II, he played a key role in in rescuing refugees in occupied France. Continue Reading »

The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments For Capitalism Before Its Triumph

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