The Theory of the Leisure Class (Kobo eBook)

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First published in 1899 by American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen, “The Theory of the Leisure Class” is a classic and important examination of the economics of the upper classes and the impact that their habits have upon society at the end of the 19th century. In this work, Veblen, influenced by the work of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Adam Smith, contends that the evolutionary development of human society is the basis for our modern economic institutions, such as the divisions between the wealthy ruling class, the industrious middle class, and the working poor. Veblen was highly critical of the upper class and coined the phrases “conspicuous consumption” and “conspicuous leisure” to describe the often wasteful and unnecessary use of resources and time that is typical of the wealthiest members of a society. Veblen argues that the social values of the rich, which have their evolutionary basis in the primitive and barbaric behavior of humans during ancient times, have greatly contributed to an unnecessary division of class, as well as a lack of proper use of wealth in society. “The Theory of the Leisure Class” continues to be a thought-provoking and significant study of economics and sociology that is as relevant today as when it was first written.