The Instinct of Workmanship, originally issued in 1914, is described by Murray Murphey as his "most important work." It is in this volume that the theoretical foundations are put forth on full display. Veblen's juxtaposition of the instinctive values of community welfare in contrast to the pecuniary values of commercial exchange was the basis of his later, more famous works. The book makes plain Veblen's basic dichotomy between technological institutions for making goods and the pecuniary institutions for making money.
Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) was perhaps the most famous American economist and social critic of his time. He taught at the universities of Chicago and Missouri, Stanford University, and the New School for Social Research. His many books include The Theory of Business Enterprise, The Higher Learning in America, and The Theory of the Leisure Class, all available from Transaction.
Murray G. Murphey is professor of American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author ofThe Development of Peirce's Philosophy, co-author of a two-volume History of Philosophy in America, and co-editor of Values and Value Theory in Twentieth Century America.