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How Reforms Should Be Passed


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.

Albert O. Hirschman, born in Berlin in 1915 and a refugee from Nazi Germany, graduated from the University of Trieste in 1938. He moved to the United States in 1940, joined the army during the war, worked in the Marshall Plan for the Federal Reserve, and then, for the World Bank, advised the Colombia Government on development. Hirschman taught at Columbia and Harvard universities and has been Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.

Luca Meldolesi, born in Rome in 1939, taught at the universities of Rome, Calabria, and Naples, collaborated with Hirschman on numerous books and articles and has applied Hirschman’s point of view in his teaching, grass roots initiatives and in government on behalf of the Italian South.