Veblen, Thorstein

Thorstein Veblen (1857–1929), along with Max Weber, Vilfredo Pareto, and Werner Sombart, worked at the intersection of economics and sociology. Veblen's memorable concept of “conspicuous consumption” formed a lasting link between economics and sociology by focusing attention on status seeking, which motivates a great deal of economic behavior but must be understood in sociological rather than in purely economic terms. Veblen is also remembered as one of the founding figures of the “institutional economics' tradition in economics, with its focus on legal forms and developments in governance. Finally, Veblen was an insightful social critic who helped shape the thinking of subsequent generations of analysts like C. Wright (“the power elite”) Mills.

Thorstein Veblen was an economist who, in the process of trying to understand the economy, ...

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