Of Hiding Hands and Other Ways of Coping with Uncertainty: A Commentary


Flyvbjerg and Sunstein offer a critique of Hirschman's Hiding Hand Principle. Using a comprehensive database and employing various statistical tests, they show just how deficient the Principle is. Yet, they seem to operate from a narrow conceptualization of the Hiding Hand by emphasizing primarily its malevolent sibling, and failing to see the broader problem of incomplete information and uncertainty in planning processes. In response, the article proposes a typology of Hands and their patterns and outcomes as a way of relieving Flyvbjerg and Sunstein from a preoccupation with what for Hirschman was little more than a “petite idée.”