Thorstein Veblen shook the complacency of America in the early twentieth century with his incisive criticisms of our social and economic systems. Discarding the classical view of "eternal" economic laws that conveniently justified the nineteenth-century predatory practices of "big business" in terms of rational self-interest, Veblen cast a fresh, merciless eye on America's money-making passion. In glittering prose, Veblen exposed our social system as one designed to block man's natural "instinct of workmanship." He demonstrated that our leisure-class culture fostered the myth that work was inherently irksome to man. Veblen was also fascinated by the machine and the new science of technology. He saw businessmen basically at war with engineers and scientists because making exorbitant profits did not necessarily jibe with making better goods.
In his study of this intriguing personality, Thorstein Veblen, Douglas Dowd reveals that Veblen was unsuccessful in his university career and his two marriages, and in his private life was strange, bitter, and detached. But in his books, Veblen shone as one of America's most penetrating thinkers whose theories proved a potent force in the modernization of economics as a science. Dowd's sympathetic approach to Veblen's nature and problems places this giant in the field against a contemporary background in powerful and lively fashion. In his new introduction, Michael Keaney breathes new life into this unjustly neglected primer on Veblen. A new generation of students will undoubtedly benefit from this comprehensive guide to the thought of someone whose intellectual endeavor was non-doctrinaire and constantly -changing.