The Theory of the Leisure Class

by Thorstein Veblen, Martha Banta

Series: Oxford World's Classics

'Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure.'In The Theory of the Leisure Class Thorstein Veblen sets out 'to discuss the place and value of the leisure class as an economic factor in modern life'. In so doing he produced a landmark study of affluent American society that exposes, with brilliant ruthlessness, the habits of production and waste that link invidious business tactics and barbaric social behaviour. Veblen's analysis of the evolutionary process sees greed as the overriding motive in the modern economy; with animpartial gaze he examines the human cost paid when social institutions exploit the consumption of unessential goods for the sake of personal profit. Fashion, beauty, animals, sports, the home, the clergy, scholars - all are assessed for their true usefulness and found wanting. The targets of Veblen'scoruscating satire are as evident today as they were a century ago, and his book still has the power to shock and enlighten. Veblen's uncompromising arguments and the influential literary force of his writing are assessed in Martha Banta's Introduction.ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

  • OUP Oxford; October 2007
  • ISBN: 9780191517587
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: The Theory of the Leisure Class
  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Author: Thorstein Veblen; Martha Banta (ed.)
  • Imprint: OUP Oxford

About The Author

Martha Banta's forthcoming book from Yale (Summer 2007), One True Theory and the Quest for an American Aesthetic treats iin depth Veblen's role as the champion of new modes of scientific inquiry that influenced many areas of social thought.