One of the great sages of our times. An economist and a theorist of development, whose highly influential work in economics and politics in developing countries had a profound impact on international economic thought and practice, he was also a renowned social scientist whose studies of the intellectual underpinnings of economic policies and political democracy crossed disciplinary boundaries. Last but not least, he was a great letterato whose whole work, in the words of his biographer Jeremy Adelman, was «the practice of social science as literature». In this essay, the author who was a close friend of the Maestro, offers a combination of personal recollections and a "reading" of Hirschman’s life and thought through a prism of his persistent "beaming" optimism and his capacity for "trespassing" and "self-subversion".
Keywords: Hirschman, possibilismo, defezione e protesta, sviluppo sbilanciato, felicita privata e felicita pubblica, operazione Rescue