The present paper is an extension of Donald Walker’s thesis on the Veblenian process of institutional evolution.In his Thorstein Veblen’s Economic System of 1977 Walker stresses that the greater the workers’ contact withmachine discipline the higher their critical attitude towards the status quo; moreover, this contact is satisfactoryfor generating a mechanism of overthrowing the existing institutional order. The originality of Walker’sinterpretation concerns the defence of the active role of workers in the process of institutional evolution, unlikea great deal of literature that confines its interpretation only to the active role of technicians. However at thesame time Walker’s interpretation appears to be incomplete; in fact mechanisms of worker/technology ‘contact’are certainly necessary to generate change in institutions but they are not sufficient since they also require mechanisms of moral delegitimation of the waste caused by the compression of the real wage. Actually Walkerincidentally anticipates this argument but he does not provide a complete discussion of it. As in Walker, therereading of Veblen proposed here is addressed to defining the ways workers change institutions. The aim is toexpand Walker’s arguments by referring to Veblen’s thought on popular discontent. Moreover, and contrary toWalker, the focus will be on those principles and modalities recognized by Veblen as inefficacious for a change in institutions.

When Machine Discipline and Popular Discontent Do (or Do Not) Change Institutions In The Veblenian Perspective: An Integration of Walker’s Interpretation

PACELLA, Andrea
2008

Abstract

The present paper is an extension of Donald Walker’s thesis on the Veblenian process of institutional evolution.In his Thorstein Veblen’s Economic System of 1977 Walker stresses that the greater the workers’ contact withmachine discipline the higher their critical attitude towards the status quo; moreover, this contact is satisfactoryfor generating a mechanism of overthrowing the existing institutional order. The originality of Walker’sinterpretation concerns the defence of the active role of workers in the process of institutional evolution, unlikea great deal of literature that confines its interpretation only to the active role of technicians. However at thesame time Walker’s interpretation appears to be incomplete; in fact mechanisms of worker/technology ‘contact’are certainly necessary to generate change in institutions but they are not sufficient since they also require mechanisms of moral delegitimation of the waste caused by the compression of the real wage. Actually Walkerincidentally anticipates this argument but he does not provide a complete discussion of it. As in Walker, therereading of Veblen proposed here is addressed to defining the ways workers change institutions. The aim is toexpand Walker’s arguments by referring to Veblen’s thought on popular discontent. Moreover, and contrary toWalker, the focus will be on those principles and modalities recognized by Veblen as inefficacious for a change in institutions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/246684
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