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The Essential Hirschman$
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Albert O. Hirschman and Jeremy Adelman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159904

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159904.001.0001

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(p.363) Afterword
The Essential Hirschman

Emma Rothschild

Amartya Sen

Princeton University Press

This concluding chapter examines the enduring legacy of Hirschman's works. One reason for this is that his “world-view” is a skeptical optimism; another is a series of ideas, including explanatory arguments, that are themselves simple enough: exit and voice, or passions and interests, or obstacles and development. There is very little sense, in Hirschman's writing, of complexity or involution as a condition that is creditable in itself. He was an inspiring critic of successive varieties of economic thought, but his ideas cannot be mapped in any straightforward way on to a dichotomy of the “orthodox” versus the “heterodox,” the “rational” versus the “fully empirical,” or the “thin” versus the “thickly descriptive.” He aspired to both, and he embraced the conflict between them.

Keywords:   skeptical optimism, writings, economics, diversity, intellectual life, Hirschman's politics

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