The Theory Of The Leisure Classby Thorstein Veblen
Pub. Date: 04/01/2007
Thorstein Veblen was once described by Fortune magazine as "America's most brilliant and influential critic of modern business and the values of a business civilization," and his wisdom and often dryly satiric wit continues to be obvious today. In The Theory of the Leisure Class, first published in 1899, he coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption" as a critique of… See more details below
Thorstein Veblen was once described by Fortune magazine as "America's most brilliant and influential critic of modern business and the values of a business civilization," and his wisdom and often dryly satiric wit continues to be obvious today. In The Theory of the Leisure Class, first published in 1899, he coined the phrase "conspicuous consumption" as a critique of the rampant and ostentatious consumerism of his day.
Readers a century on will see that the world in which we live today has little changed. In this classic of economic theory, Veblen blasts the superficiality and wastefulness of conspicuous consumption, but also delves into an incisive exploration of the social functions of consumption and how the concepts of property and class work in tandem.
Anyone seeking to understand the foundations of modern economic civilization will be enlightened-and entertained-by this work.
American economist and sociologist THORSTEIN BUNDE VEBLEN (1857-1929) was educated at Carleton College, Johns Hopkins University and Yale University. Among his most famous works are The Theory of Business Enterprise (1904) and Imperial Germany and the Industrial Revolution (1915).
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Table of Contents
|V||The Pecuniary Standard of Living||76|
|VI||Pecuniary Canons of Taste||85|
|VII||Dress as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture||123|
|VIII||Industrial Exemption and Conservatism||138|
|IX||The Conservation of Archaic Traits||155|
|X||Modern Survivals of Prowess||179|
|XI||The Belief in Luck||201|
|XIII||Survivals of the Non-Invidious Interest||243|
|XIV||The Higher Learning as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture||265|
|Reading Group Guide||297|
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This may not be a book to read for recreation, unless you like 1890s verbal locutions, but there are other reasons to read it. The emergence of the economic analysis of Western society might intrigue you. You might discover the origins of such still useful terms as 'leisure class' and 'conspicuous consumption,' among others. You might be curious about author Thorstein Veblen¿s status-conscious, anachronistic world of working men and idle wives, which reflects upper-class society in his day. Published in 1899, this is a classic in sociology and economic literature, although it is a veritable dreadnought of density. It discusses property, ownership, status and leisure in a turn-of-the-last-century American context. Though scholars call it a 'satire,' the book is neither witty nor ironic. Instead, it is a stolid analytical daguerreotype of a world long gone. We suggest that if you tackle Veblen¿s old-fashioned, slow-flowing prose, you should do it for the background you may glean and the scholarly satisfaction you may feel when you are done. Instead of Alexander Pope¿s, 'What oft was thought but ne¿er so well expressed,' this book presents what oft was said and usually better, but not as early.
Although the sample is 52 pages long, it's doesn't get even to the end of the introduction. It doesn't include any of Veblen's text, which is supposed to be quite difficult.