Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B1, B3, B5, N6

Key Words

Culture, Industry, Machine Process, Society, Thorstein Veblen, Workman


This inquiry considers Thorstein Veblen’s understanding of the machine process and some of its influences. In particular, this paper explores relationships between the machine process and industry, noting the powerful influences of standardization of outputs as well as inputs. In addition, this paper considers some of the implications of the machine process on workers, considering particularly the tendency of the machine process to enforce routines and some of the related effects on “habitual thinking.” Finally, the machine process and its relation to society will be discussed with a focus on its effects on value systems, examining also the ways in which the machine process shifts power from the individual to the vested interests of big business and those with financial knowledge.


© Emily Pitkin

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