The Passions and the Interests

Political Arguments for Capitalism Before Its Triumph

Ranked #51 in Economic History, Ranked #81 in Capitalismsee more rankings.

In this volume, Albert Hirschman reconstructs the intellectual climate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to illuminate the intricate ideological transformation that occurred, wherein the pursuit of material interests--so long condemned as the deadly sin of avarice--was assigned the role of containing the unruly and destructive passions of man. Hirschman here offers a new interpretation for the rise of capitalism, one that emphasizes the continuities between old and new, in contrast to the assumption of a sharp break that is a common feature of both Marxian and Weberian thinking.... more

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We've comprehensively compiled reviews of The Passions and the Interests from the world's leading experts.

Mark Blyth The notion in the whole book is that it is far better for man to lord it over his bank balance than it is over his fellow man. (Source)

Will Davies The core question in Hirschman’s book is actually in its subtitle: ‘Political Arguments for Capitalism before Its Triumph’. Like Weber, Hirschman realised that, first, there is nothing natural about capitalism. (Source)

Robert J Shiller When we reflect on some of the horrors of capitalism, we have to consider that things could have been much worse if we didn’t have this system. Our fights would have been on real battlefields, rather than economic battlefields. (Source)

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