Why do societies oscillate, on a roughly twenty-year cycle, between modes of private acquisitiveness and public spiritedness? Albert O. Hirschman argues that disappointment is the main cause explaining why societies never stop shifting from an ideology promoting private interests to another philosophy which endorses public action and vice versa. The aims of this paper are to reconstruct Hirschmanís reasoning using a System Dynamics approach and to build a simulation model reproducing the oscillations societies experiment between private and public interests. Our simulation results reproduce the behaviour implied by Hirschman, therefore showing evidence of the dynamic consistency of his argumentation. Furthermore, an example taken for a novel and empirical data, which represents the evolution of turn-out in the US, have been used to gain deeper support of our findings. Further research using this model is promising.