Albert O. Hirschman's Hiding Hand offers an ingenious play on Smith’s Invisible Hand. It suggests that human creativity is often underestimated, leading to unexpected solutions to seemingly intractable problems. In individual lives as in public policy and business, blindness to obstacles sometimes has ironic and desirable consequences. Hirschman's is an infectious account, but it does not fit the data. Far more often, planners are subject to the Malevolent Hiding Hand, which prompts people to proceed, unaware of the obstacles and of their inability to surmount them. The Hiding Hand obscures the planning fallacy, writ very large. Hirschman had a keen understanding of human psychology, but his enthusiasm for happy endings led him to a misleading account of economic development. The Hiding Hand is usually malevolent.


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pp. 979-1004
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