Thorstein Veblen


Born
in Cato, Wisconsin, The United States
July 29, 1857

Died
August 03, 1929

Genre


Thorstein (born 'Torsten') Bunde Veblen was a Norwegian-American economist and sociologist. He was famous as a witty critic of capitalism.

Veblen is famous for the idea of "conspicuous consumption". Conspicuous consumption, along with "conspicuous leisure", is performed to demonstrate wealth or mark social status. Veblen explains the concept in his best-known book, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899). Within the history of economic thought, Veblen is considered the leader of the institutional economics movement. Veblen's distinction between "institutions" and "technology" is still called the Veblenian dichotomy by contemporary economists.

As a leading intellectual of the Progressive Era, Veblen attacked production for profit. His emphasis
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Average rating: 3.9 · 3,972 ratings · 265 reviews · 74 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Theory of the Leisure C...

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3.92 avg rating — 3,088 ratings — published 1899 — 1127 editions
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Conspicuous Consumption

3.70 avg rating — 415 ratings — published 1899 — 5 editions
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The Theory of Business Ente...

4.04 avg rating — 70 ratings — published 1968 — 48 editions
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The Engineers and the Price...

3.96 avg rating — 47 ratings — published 1921 — 39 editions
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The Higher Learning in America

3.88 avg rating — 41 ratings — published 1992 — 34 editions
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The Portable Veblen

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4.03 avg rating — 29 ratings — published 1948 — 3 editions
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The Vested Interests and th...

4.18 avg rating — 22 ratings — published 2001 — 24 editions
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Absentee Ownership: Busines...

4.18 avg rating — 17 ratings — published 1971 — 10 editions
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The Instinct of Workmanship...

3.63 avg rating — 19 ratings31 editions
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Imperial Germany and the In...

4.27 avg rating — 11 ratings — published 1939 — 29 editions
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More books by Thorstein Veblen…
“Invention is the mother of necessity.”
Thorstein Veblen

“The quasi-peaceable gentleman of leisure, then, not only consumes of the staff of life beyond the minimum required for subsistence and physical efficiency, but his consumption also undergoes a specialisation as regards the quality of the goods consumed. He consumes freely and of the best, in food, drink, narcotics, shelter, services, ornaments, apparel, weapons and accoutrements, amusements, amulets, and idols or divinities.”
Thorstein Veblen

“The ceremonial differentiation of the dietary is best seen in the use of intoxicating beverages and narcotics. If these articles of consumption are costly, they are felt to be noble and honorific. Therefore the base classes, primarily the women, practice an enforced continence with respect to these stimulants, except in countries where they are obtainable at a very low cost. From archaic times down through all the length of the patriarchal regime it has been the office of the women to prepare and administer these luxuries, and it has been the perquisite of the men of gentle birth and breeding to consume them. Drunkenness and the other pathological consequences of the free use of stimulants therefore tend in their turn to become honorific, as being a mark, at the second remove, of the superior status of those who are able to afford the indulgence. Infirmities induced by over-indulgence are among some peoples freely recognised as manly attributes. It has even happened that the name for certain diseased conditions of the body arising from such an origin has passed into everyday speech as a synonym for "noble" or "gentle". It is only at a relatively early stage of culture that the symptoms of expensive vice are conventionally accepted as marks of a superior status, and so tend to become virtues and command the deference of the community; but the reputability that attaches to certain expensive vices long retains so much of its force as to appreciably lesson the disapprobation visited upon the men of the wealthy or noble class for any excessive indulgence. The same invidious distinction adds force to the current disapproval of any indulgence of this kind on the part of women, minors, and inferiors. This invidious traditional distinction has not lost its force even among the more advanced peoples of today. Where the example set by the leisure class retains its imperative force in the regulation of the conventionalities, it is observable that the women still in great measure practise the same traditional continence with regard to stimulants.”
Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class