Veblen, Thorstein Bunde (1857–1929)

Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born in the United States (where he lived and worked all his life) to Norwegian immigrant parents, held faculty posts at Chicago, Stanford, and Missouri universities. He was best known for coining the terms conspicuous consumption and leisure class, as a founder of institutional economics and evolutionary economics, and for his satirical, polemic style of writing.

Contrary to the classical economics of his time, Veblen argued that economic behavior, specifically how businesses were run, was determined socially, not individually. He also argued that economic life, including forms of business organization, was in a process of continuous evolution—that nothing could be relied on to last.

Veblen was a fierce critic of the kind of industrial capitalism that was becoming dominant in the United States by ...

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