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The Passions and the Interests : Political Arguments for Capitalism Before its Triumph

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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. Among the insights presented here is the ironical finding that capitalism was originally supposed to accomplish exactly what was soon denounced as its worst feature: the repression of the passions in favor of the "harmless," if one-dimensional, interests of commercial life. To portray this lengthy ideological change as an endogenous process, Hirschman draws on the writings of a large number of thinkers, including Montesquieu, Sir James Steuart, and Adam Smith.

Featuring a new afterword by Jeremy Adelman and a foreword by Amartya Sen, this Princeton Classics edition of The Passions and the Interests sheds light on the intricate ideological transformation from which capitalism emerged triumphant, and reaffirms Hirschman's stature as one of our most influential and provocative thinkers.

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Hirschman Albert O.
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Albert O. Hirschman(1915-2012) was One of the Leading Intellectuals of the Twentieth Century, Renowned for his Contributions to Economics, the Social Sciences, and the History of Ideas.

Foreword, by Amartya Sen ix
Preface to the Twentieth Anniversary Edition xxi
Acknowledgments xxv
Introduction 3
PART ONE. How the Interests were Called Upon to Counteract the Passions 7
The Idea of Glory and Its Downfall 9
Man "as he really is" 12
Repressing and Harnessing the Passions 14
The Principle of the Countervailing Passion 20
"Interest" and "Interests" as Tamers of the Passions 31
Interest as a New Paradigm 42;
Assets of an Interest-Governed World: Predictability and Constancy 48
Money-Making and Commerce as Innocent and Doux 56
Money-Making as a Calm Passion 63
PART TWO. How Economic Expansion was Expected to Improve the Political Order 67
Elements of a Doctrine 70
1. Montesquieu 70
2. Sir James Steuart 81
3. John Millar 87
Related yet Discordant Views 93
1. The Physiocrats 96
2. Adam Smith and the End of a Vision 100
PART THREE. Reflections on an Episode in Intellectual History 115
Where the Montesquieu-Steuart Vision Went Wrong 117
The Promise of an Interest-Governed World versus the Protestant Ethic 128
Contemporary Notes 132
Afterword by Jeremy Adelman 137
Notes 145
Index 155

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