The Theory of the Leisure Class

ebook

By Thorstein Veblen

cover image of The Theory of the Leisure Class

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The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions (1899) is a book by Thorstein Veblen about how the possession or pursuit of wealth affects human behavior. More specifically, it is a treatise on economics as well as a detailed, social critique of 'conspicuous consumption' as a function of social class and of consumerism, derived from the social stratification of people and the division of labor, which are social institutions of the feudal period (9th–15th c.) that have continued to the modern era. Veblen asserts that the contemporary 'lords of the manor', the businessmen who own the means of production, have employed themselves in the economically unproductive practices of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure, which are useless activities that contribute neither to the economy nor to the material production of the useful goods and services required for the functioning of society, Meanwhile, Veblen argues, it is the middle and working class who are usefully employed in the industrialised, productive occupations that support the whole of society. Conducted in the late 19th century, Veblen's socio-economic analyses of the business cycles and the consequent price politics of the U.S. economy, as well as of the emergent division of labor, by technocratic speciality—scientist, engineer, technologist, etc.—proved to be accurate sociological predictions of the economic structure of an industrial society.|Wikipedia|
The Theory of the Leisure Class