PHILIP DOSSICK

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The Theory of the Leisure Class

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The Theory of the Leisure Class

4.88

In his landmark study, The Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen produced a withering portrait of affluent American society that exposed the shallow lifestyles suggested by the term "conspicuous consumption," revealing the emptiness of many cherished standards of taste, education, dress, and culture.

 

Veblen's scathing analysis sees greed as the overriding motive in the modern economy.

 

With evenhanded observation he examines the human cost paid when social institutions exploit the consumption of unessential goods for the sake of corporate and personal profit.

 

Since first appearing in 1899, it has become a classic of social theory that has contributed to the modernization of economic policy.

 

 

THORSTEIN VEBLEN (1857-1929) was an American economist and sociologist. He combined sociology with economics in his masterwork, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), in which he argued that there was a fundamental split in society between those who make their way via exploitation and those who make their way via industry. The Theory of the Leisure Class still has the power to shock and enlighten, and its influence on future American writers such as Edith Wharton, Henry James, John Dos Passos, and F. Scott Fitzgerald is well recognized.

 

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