Thursday, 22 May 2014

Albert Hirschman quote for election day

This comes from Shifting Involvements: Private Interest and Public Action, and seems pretty relevant today
[A]t some stage in our cycle, the benefit of collective action for an individual is not the difference between the hoped-for result and the effort furnished by him and her, but the sum of these two magnitudes! And a further surprising consequence follows immediately: since the output and objective of collective action are ordinarily a public good available to all, the only way in which an individual can raise the benefit accruing to him from the collective action is by stepping up his own input, his effort on behalf of the public policy he espouses. Far from shirking and attempting to free ride, a truly maximising individual will attempt to be as activist as he can manage, within the limits set by his other essential activities and objectives.

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