The Theory of the Leisure Class


By Thorstein Veblen

cover image of The Theory of the Leisure Class

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In 'The Theory of the Leisure Class,' Thorstein Veblen delivers a scathing exposé of the capitalist society, exploring the concept of conspicuous consumption and its role in social stratification. Veblen's incisive prose dissects the vestiges of feudalism that pervade modern economies, articulating how the division of labor and the pursuit of leisure act as markers of social status. The book's analytical depth emerges from its interdisciplinary approach, weaving economic theory with sociological insight while drawing intellectual inspiration from Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, and Herbert Spencer. Veblen illuminates the evolutionary development of human institutions, emphasizing the interplay between societal progress and economic production driven by technological innovation. Thorstein Veblen, an eminent American economist and sociologist, constructed an illustrious career critiquing the very foundations of capitalism. His pen etched a legacy as the pioneer of institutional economics, blending astute observation with incisive wit. Veblen's background, marked by the dichotomy between institutions and technological advancement—now known as the Veblenian dichotomy—provided the impetus for his profound inquiries into the fabric of economic society, challenging prevailing norms and advocating for a more nuanced understanding of wealth and its cultural manifestations. 'The Theory of the Leisure Class' is a seminal work that remains highly relevant for scholars and students of economics, sociology, and history as well as for those intrigued by the societal implications of wealth and consumption. Veblen's piercing analysis serves as a reflective lens, through which readers can critically assess the economic and social structures of their own times. This book comes highly recommended to readers seeking to comprehend the intricate forces that shape social order and influence the pursuit of status in capitalist societies.
The Theory of the Leisure Class