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Veblen’s Concept of social change

Thorstein Veblen's concept of social change is related to the technological evolutionism that he discussed in his writings. It is about the distinction he drew between the predatory class of people employed in pecuniary activities and the class of industrial workers. For him the technology available to a society determines its culture. The social institutions found in a society represent the adaptation of that society to past technologies and are therefore never in full accord with the present needs. He says that the class that benefits from the persistence of the old order resists further technological changes.

The former class believes in whatever is right whereas the law of natural selection in the process of evolution rests on the notion of whatever is wrong. Thus according Veblen social change depends on the conflict that exists between the class that has vested interests in maintaining the old system and the class that brings about the new technological changes. He did not believe that history of all societies is the history of class struggles. In his view social change occurs due to the conflict that arises between advancing technology and the existing social institutions that tend to retard this change. Therefore there is a lag between the social institutions found in a society and the technological developments that take place in that society.