He wrote his sister that an old teacher had explained
that I shouldn’t worry about love-and she stretched out her arms and then slowly brought her two index fingers together from afar-as sure as that, she said, would the girl that I will love get together with me one day. As it ple I think that there exists for each of us a personal (and nevertheless general) truth, we only have to trace it and then follow it deliberately and courageously. And I just had these last months the exciting feeling that I am about to succeed in following my truth.
Despising teaching as much as he loved writing, Hirschman longed to spend time at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton
Though the book received favorable reviews (and was destined to become a classic), Hirschman’s visiting professorship had run out at Yale. But in relatively short order, Columbia offered him his first real academic appointment. The only problem was that he hated teaching (and seemed to have a phobia about it throughout his life). In 1963, he moved to Harvard. Influenced by the protest movements of the 1960s, and seeking to challenge the view that market competition was a cure-all, he wrote Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, which became an immediate sensation. As Adelman notes, the immense influence of the book stems in part from the familiarity and wide application of the master concepts. All of us have had to answer that question, and Hirschman offered a new set of categories with which to answer it.
In 1971, he asked whether he could visit there for the following year. He was indeed invited and the move became permanent. At the institute, Hirschman became keenly interested in the origins of capitalism and embarked on the project that became The Passions and the Interests. In that work, he rejected the nostalgia, current at the time, for a supposedly lost world of republican virtue, free of commercial avarice. He also rejected the suggestion, prominent then and now in the economics profession, that markets simply take human beings as they are, with their inevitable self-interest.
Instead he observed that the cancelar suscripcion CasualX early theorists of free markets thought that commerce would transform people, by cooling our passions and making us gentler. In the words of Samuel Ricard in 1704, commercial interactions would encourage citizens “to be honest, to acquire manners, to be prudent and reserved in both talk and action.” At the same time, however, Hirschman worried that efforts to focus people on economic gain could “have the side effect of killing the civic spirit and of thereby opening the door to tyranny.”
Hirschman’s thinking about the alternating ease and difficulty of getting people to participate in public life led him to Shifting Involvements-a small masterpiece that illuminates the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and protest movements of diverse kinds. Hirschman emphasized that human beings are often choosing between private and public life, and thus between the different forms of happiness that are associated with each of them. He described “pendular motions of collective behavior,” in which people swing from happiness to disappointment in one kind of activity, and then to the other. For example, the disappointments and frustrations of the student rebellions of the late 1960s encouraged a return to private life in the 1970s and 1980s. Rejecting the highly influential idea that the problem of collective action has a kind of invariable, ahistorical “logic,” Hirschman drew attention to the immense importance of history and timing as, in Adelman’s words, “people leave the streets and plazas disenchanted with politics to seek happiness in the shopping malls”-and vice versa.