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Literatur zur Politischen Ökonomie
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Veblen (1999): The Theory of the Leisure Class
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The Theory of the Leisure Class
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Thorstein Veblen was born in 1857 on the Wisconsin frontier, the sixth of twelve children of Thomas and Kari Veblen who emigrated from Norway in 1847. At 17 Veblen was sent away from the family farm to Carleton College Academy, where he received his BA in 1880. In the following years Veblen followed a largely unstructured life that included an early marriage, retirement to his wife′s family farm, and on-and-off studies at Johns Hopkins, Yale, and Cornell, before he picked up two doctoral degrees—one in philosophy, the other in economics. He was 35 when he procured his frst academic post in 1892 at the newly established University of Chicago. Although he had a reputation as an indifferent lecturer, a difficult colleague, and a bit of a womanizer, he gained recognition as a man with important new things to say about the relation of ever-evolving cultural forces to current business transactions. Culled from the series of papers he presented throughout the 1890s before academic audiences,The Theory of the Leisure Class was published in 1899. Received with derision by those who clung to old-style formulas of economic stability, it piqued the interest of members in the growing fields of sociology, anthropology, and psychology, as well as the novelists rising in protest against growing social inequities. Veblen went on to write ten books and countless reviews and essays, to be dismissed from the University of Chicago and Stanford University by administrators embarrassed over his romantic life, to remarry after his first wife divorced him, and to venture into non-academic areas in efforts to support himself. Finally, unemployable and in failing health, he retired to a cabin in the California mountains where he died in 1929.

i. Introductory 7
ii. Pecuniary Emulation 20
iii. Conspicuous Leisure 28
iv. Conspicuous Consumption 49
v. The Pecuniary Standard of Living 70
vi. Pecuniary Canons of Taste 78
vii. Dress as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture 111
viii. Industrial Exemption and Conservatism 125
ix. The Conservation of Archaic Traits 140
x. Modern Survivals of Prowess 161
xi. The Belief in Luck 180
xii. Devout Observances 191
xiii. Survivals of the Non-Invidious Interest 216
xiv. The Higher Learning as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture 236

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