Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B15, B31, M10, O33

Key Words

Business Enterprise, Custom, Divine Right of Nations, Institutions, Law, Thorstein Veblen, Vested Interests


This inquiry seeks to establish the importance of "vested interests" as introduced and relied upon within Thorstein Veblen’s system of reasoning. Veblen considers vested interests from two different perspectives in his 1919 book The Vested Interests and the Common Man. First, Veblen considers the relationships between vested interests and what he terms “the business enterprise”. Veblen takes a historical view, relating vested interests to lingering laws and customs of an old era that continue to be applied in modern times. In addition, Veblen considers vested interests and "the divine right of nations", which he connects to the historical institution of "the divine right of kings".


© Lauren Sweger-Hollingsworth

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