Thorstein Veblen was a multidisciplinary social scientist whose original insights continue to inspire debate. Rather than focusing on allocation, markets and scarcity, his perspective on economics was rather one of Darwinian evolution and perpetual development, unfolding conventions and interpersonal constraints. This interdisciplinary and comprehensive book determines that Veblen's disparate theories of conspicuous consumption, imperial Germany, the giant corporation and the speculation-led cycle all add up to a consistent and coherent world-view.
Veblen was a fascinating author who deserves to be read for himself. This penetrating new interpretation demonstrates that he also identified a serious threat to property and peace in the form of irresponsible finance and frustrated workmanship. He believed corporate capitalism was at risk from its internal contradictions. This lucid book assesses the logic behind Veblen's stark and apocalyptic vision.
The Social Economics of Thorstein Veblen examines all of Veblen's books and articles, revealing that they are closely integrated to form an organic whole. It will prove valuable for scholars and students interested in sociological theory, politics and political economy, history and institutional economics.
David Reisman, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of Surrey, UK and Senior Associate, Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Institutional Economics 3. Instincts and Endowments 4. Savages and Barbarians 5. Cumulative Causation 6. Consumption 7. Production 8. The Profit Motive 9. Corporation and Credit 10. The Age of Irrelevance 11. Socialism: The Intelligentsia and the Proletariat 12. Socialism: The Engineers 13. The Reversion to War 14. Perpetual Peace 15. Neoclassical Economics 16. Who Was Thorstein Veblen? References Index