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Neoliberalism, Polanyi’s protective response, and Veblenian waste

Wrenn, Mary V.


Mary Wrenn
Senior Lecturer in Economics


As capitalism unfolds, continual technological advance in combination with the relentless accumulation imperative serves to amplify material progress. The expanding economic sphere begins to pervade the everyday lives and thinking of the individual. The institutionalization of the market fundamentally changes the structure of society and in so doing, fundamentally changes the institutional structure through which individuals are socialized. The social dislocation generated therein, prompts Polanyi’s protective response.
Despite this market intensification, the existence of the economic surplus undermines the syllogistics of market determined pricing. Evidence of the economic surplus and Veblenian waste and furthermore, that the competitive law of value is not operable under neoliberalism is found in the lobby industry and campaign contributions. This research seeks to connect explicitly the concepts of Polanyi’s protective response with Veblenian waste and the economic surplus in order to better understand how the irrational system of neoliberalism continues to evolve.


Wrenn, M. (2016). Neoliberalism, Polanyi’s protective response, and Veblenian waste. Journal of Economic Issues, 50(2), 594-602.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 1, 2016
Online Publication Date May 12, 2016
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Journal Journal of Economic Issues
Print ISSN 0021-3624
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Issue 2
Pages 594-602
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Economic Issues on 12th May 2016, available online:


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