The present work sets out to re-read Veblen on the nature and effect of popular opinion in the process of institutional evolution. We mainly want to show – contrary to much of the interpretative literature – that machine discipline is just one way, and not even the main one, that Veblen uses to explain how popular discontent is generated, and that the economic grounds underlying the process of modification of institutions can work only if it is free from any counteracting force and modification therefore does not necessarily derive from machine discipline. In these terms the technocratic reading of the role of the population in the process of institutional change is only partially convincing. In order to achieve this general goal we will show how and where Veblen actually deals with the question of popular discontent in his works and what role it plays.
institutional evolution, emulation, machine discipline, popular discontent, Veblen
How to Cite
Pacella A., (2010) “Nature and Roles of Popular Discontent in Institutional Dynamics”, American Review of Political Economy 8(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.38024/arpe.115