Among the first experiences shared by many participants in the network of A Colorni-Hirschman International Institute were the activities surrounding the teaching of Economic Policy by Luca Meldolesi at the University of Naples in the ’80s and ’90s of last century. These activities were reported in a xeroxed publication called “Bollettino degli Improbabili” (The Improbables Newsletter).
The name “improbables” resonates with Hirschman’s possibilism: “He who looks for large-scale social change must be possessed, with Kierkegaard, by ‘the passion for what is possible’ rather than rely on what has been certified as probable by factor analysis” . While traditional thinking pushes for searching models and regularities, and making hypotheses about what is probable (which, however, is not certain, and could just be a repetition of something existing but not satisfying) whoever is looking for change must detect potentialities that exist even where not expected.
Hence, the “improbables” are those who, moving in the interval between the probable and the possible, offer an individual and collective contribution out of the box.
In subsequent years, with new experiences in public administration, firms, social cooperation, research and political activity many more “improbables” have gathered around that original group.
The Improbables - Some examples