Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 August 2021
We began this book by presenting the ideas of great economists that have been unduly neglected. Smith recognized that capitalism works best when people seek to catch those above them on the societal escalator. That requires a sense that they are at least on the escalator – something stressed too by Polanyi, who was well aware of the dangers that could follow if people were to feel themselves to be left out altogether. Keynes wanted the state to smooth out capitalism’s instabilities – notably, persistent unemployment – which often stemmed from the creative destruction that Schumpeter described. Hirschman understood that another way of ensuring that capitalism worked for everyone was to provide voice to all of its stakeholders.