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Torstein Bunde Veblen

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Torstein Bunde Veblen

Torstein Bunde Veblen is one of the most outstanding 19th and 20th century economists and sociologists of the US.

Born in Wisconsin in 1857, brought up in Minnesota by parents who had immigrated from Norway in 1847, he became one of the legends of academic life.

John Kenneth Galbraith writes in his Annals of an abiding liberal that Veblen's The Theory of the Leisure Class is one of the two books by American 19th century economists that is still read. Galbraith further states that "No one has really read very much social science if he hasn't read The Theory of the Leisure Class at least once."

In The Theory of the Leisure Class Veblen pursues thought and theories that goes far to explain the behaviour of the rich. The extravagancies of the noveaux riches in modern Russia is much better understood with Veblen as a background. In this book he coins the phrase conspicious consumption to explain the spending habits of the rich.

It is not an easy book to read, Veblen uses language to his effect and Galbraith advocates reading slowly, at a leisurely speed, to get the most out of Veblen.

Not reading him, however, is definitively not recommended! You'll find books recently reprinted on Amazon (see below), other editions or works in Antiquarion bookshops (see right hand menu) or on eBay (see below). Good luck!

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This page was last updated on 05.02.2005.


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