How History Has Proven Albert Hirschman's Insight to Be Essential but Also Wrong: The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy, Albert Hirschman
- Social Research: An International Quarterly
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 85, Number 3, Fall 2018
- pp. 597-611
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Albert Hirschman's The Rhetoric of Reaction: Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy offers two sets of insights, designated roughly by the title and subtitle. Both are arresting, the subtitle because it seems so right and the title because history has proven it wrong, at least for now. Together they illuminate contemporary American politics. In Hirschman's analysis, perversity, futility, and jeopardy are arguments that conservatives use to halt progressive reforms. But in American politics of the past few decades, the political valence of these three arguments is often reversed, so that liberals use arguments of perversity, futility, and jeopardy to try to halt conservative reforms.