The Theory of the Leisure Class

In Our Time | 14 December 2023 | 0h 55m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the 1899 book The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen. Veblen picked on traits of the waning landed class of Americans and showed how the new moneyed class was adopting these in ways that led to greater waste throughout society. He called these conspicuous leisure and conspicuous consumption and he developed a critique of a system that favoured profits for owners without regard to social good. The Theory of the Leisure Class was a best seller and funded Veblen for the rest of his life, and his ideas influenced the New Deal of the 1930s. Since then, an item that becomes more desirable as it becomes more expensive is known as a Veblen good.

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