This volume brings together select texts representative of the full range of intellectual output of one of the greatest and most eclectic economists of our time, Albert O. Hirschman. Covering a time span of over forty years, they recall his most prominent books and include many additional themes taken from essays of wide-ranging origin and content. The title How Economics Should Be Complicated has the dual sense of an endpoint and a central and recurrent theme in the author’s experience, which unfolds in his critical—but constructive—relationship with economic theory, his openness to other social sciences and his democratic and "possibilist" political inspiration. This stands as the basis of an important lesson in intellectual rebirth.
Albert O. Hirschman
Edited by Luca Meldolesi
Well-known as a pioneer of economic development, Albert O. Hirschman has been the flag-bearer of possibilism and reform-mongering in political science. How Reforms Should Be Passed is an anthology of texts chosen personally by Hirschman on the latter production line—as he was to call it informally—that is rooted in his long and quasi-exclusive concern for development and Latin America. Key essays on the formation and the evolution of Hirschman’s point of view on the subject are collected: from "Ideologies of Economic Development in Latin America" to Journeys (and later "A Return Journey") on policy-making; from "Obstacles to the Perception of Change" to "The Search for Paradigms as a Hindrance to Understanding." They show an extraordinary turn of the mind in the making that will be very useful for the United States and the developed world as well—as the final texts of the book on democracy and Europe (Italy, Germany and France) bear out. This book represents a unique opportunity for becoming familiar with many original and perceptive lenses provided by Hirschman to look at the world we live in, and especially to favor social change—focusing (first of all) on the cultural and political side of the matter.