Thorstein Veblen

Thorstein Bunde Veblen (July 30, 1857 – August 3, 1929) was a Norwegian-American economist and sociologist who, during his lifetime, emerged as a well-known critic of capitalism.

Thorstein Veblen
Thorstein Bunde Veblen

(1857-07-30)July 30, 1857
DiedAugust 3, 1929(1929-08-03) (aged 72)
FieldEconomics, socioeconomics
School or
Institutional economics
Alma mater
InfluencesHerbert Spencer, Thomas Paine, William Graham Sumner, Lester F. Ward, William James, Georges Vacher de Lapouge, Edward Bellamy, John Dewey, Gustav von Schmoller, John Bates Clark, Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier
ContributionsConspicuous consumption, conspicuous leisure, trained incapacity, Veblenian dichotomy

In his best-known book, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), Veblen coined the concepts of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure. Historians of economics regard Veblen as the founding father of the institutional economics school. Contemporary economists still theorize Veblen's distinction between "institutions" and "technology", known as the Veblenian dichotomy.

As a leading intellectual of the Progressive Era in the US, Veblen attacked production for profit. His emphasis on conspicuous consumption greatly influenced economists who engaged in non-Marxist critiques of fascism, capitalism, and technological determinism.

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