Revisiting Hirschman

The purpose of this paper is to revisit the seminal early work of the late Albert Hirschman on development strategy and his critique of the “big push” strategies in order to elucidate the current debates about conditionality-based aid and comprehensive development programs.  Hirschman’s vision of unbalanced growth points toward rather different modes of development assistance than those dominant in today’s large development agencies.  Lastly, conceptual bridges are highlighted between the work of Hirschman and that of other thinkers such as Herbert Simon, Charles Lindblom, Jane Jacobs, Donald Schön, and Charles Sabel in the hope of profitable two-way traffic over those bridges.

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