June 12, 2010

Freud and Veblen

(Thorstein) having been mentioned in conversation earlier this evening, when I found the image at right in my inbox (I like shoes), I thought, displaced beard?

Can't resist quoting that Wikipedia entry on Veblen:

He combined sociology with economics in his masterpiece, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), arguing there was a basic distinction between the productiveness of "industry," run by engineers, which manufactures goods, and the parasitism of "business," which exists only to make profits for a leisure class. . . . Although Veblen was sympathetic to government ownership, he had a low opinion of workers and the labor movement and was hostile to Marxism. As a leading intellectual of the Progressive Era, his sweeping attack on production for profit and his stress on the wasteful role of consumption for status greatly influenced liberal thinkers seeking a non-Marxist critique of capitalism. Experts complained his ideas, while brilliantly presented, were crude, gross, fuzzy, and imprecise; others complained he was a wacky eccentric. Scholars continue to debate exactly what he meant in his convoluted, ironic and satiric essays; he made heavy use of examples of primitive societies, but many examples were pure invention.
I hope that's all true.

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