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This classic of economic thought is a scathing critique of American snobbery and wastefulness. Chief among the practices that Veblen so wittily satirizes is 'conspicuous consumption', a pattern of behaviour that still flourishes among us.
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Almost a century after its original publication, Thorstein Veblen's work is as fresh and relevant as ever. Veblen's The Theory of the Leisure Class is in the tradition of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations and Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, yet it provides a surprisingly contemporary look at American economics and society. Establishing such terms as "conspicuous consumption" and "pecuniary emulation," Veblen's most famous work has become an archetype not only of economic theory, but of historical and sociological thought as well. As sociologist Alan Wolfe writes in his Introduction, Veblen "skillfully . . . wrote a book that will be read so long as the rich are different from the rest of us; which, if the future is anything like the past, they always will be."About the Author:
Alan Wolfe is the director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and the author of One Nation, After All and Moral Freedom.
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