Rethinking the Development Experience: Essays Provoked by the Work of Albert O. Hirschman

Rethinking the Development Experience: Essays Provoked by the Work of Albert O. Hirschman

Rethinking the Development Experience: Essays Provoked by the Work of Albert O. Hirschman

Rethinking the Development Experience: Essays Provoked by the Work of Albert O. Hirschman

Synopsis

This book, written by a group of distinguished scholars and practitioners, critically reappraises ideas about learning and development advanced by Albert O. Hirschman in the 1950s and 1960s. The essays--prepared for an MIT faculty seminar--show how these innovative ideas bear on the theory, policy, and practice of development in the 1990s. Hirschman, one of the great pioneers in the field of economic development, is now professor emeritus at Princeton. Paul Krugman, Lance Taylor, and Donald Schon address the different approaches and assumptions of economic theorists in relation to modelling, learning, and development policy. Emma Rothschild, Lisa Peattie, and Bishwapryiya Sanyal examine some of the changing attitudes toward economic progress. Elliot Marseille, Judith Tendler, Sara Friedheim, Robert Picciotto, and Charles Sabel draw lessons from efforts to innovate or modify institutions, policies, programs, and projects. Lloyd Rodwin examines the underlying themes that emerge, particularly those that touch on the ideas of development as a process of social learning and on ways of strengthening theory, policy, and practice in economics when it is seen as both discipline and profession. In a postscript, Albert O. Hirschman reflects on the evolution of his ideas, his cognitive style, and his propensity for self-subversion. Two appendixes detail the candid seminar discussions and Hirschman's musings in response to particular chapters and questions raised by the participants.

Excerpt

Albert O. Hirschman has made significant contributions to the fields of development, economic theory, economic history, and the history of ideas. He has also held some of the most prestigious professorships in the U.S. academic world; and his books have been praised highly by eminent writers (such as Kenneth J. Arrow, Stanley Hoffman, Charles E. Lindblom, John K. Galbraith, Karl Deutsch, Robert Kuttner, and Joseph Kraft). So it is not too surprising that members of a faculty should decide--as ours did--to participate voluntarily in a seminar (with some specially qualified students) to explore some of Hirschman's ideas.

However, the views expressed here are not those of followers, as is evident in the ways the authors explore, extend, test, or contest Hirschman's angles of vision. This is all the more so for those who consider his contributions flawed by his failure to "model" his important insights or by the "latitude" of his policy recommendations, or because of a different way of looking at such questions as how disciplines, fields of practices, and societies grow and develop. These diverse and intense reactions are not surprising, given the differences in the participants' perspectives and fields of specialization. and since the work of Hirschman triggers such reactions, we decided to subtitle this volume Essays Provoked by the Work of Albert O. Hirschman. the chapters that follow provide the evidence that led to this decision.

In retrospect, it is clear that Hirschman's incisive, skeptical, ironical cast of mind commands admiration on several grounds: for his inclination to challenge doctrinaire views--not only those of the right and left, but the highly prized concepts of the economics establishment . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.