Thorstein Veblen: An American Economic Perspective

I recently attended an outstanding symposium on Thorstein Veblen in Istanbul, hosted by the Chamber of Engineers, an amazingly radicalized group.

Here is the introduction to the paper I presented there: Comments and Questions always appreciated.

Given his insight and his style, Thorstein Veblen has become more relevant than ever, given current conditions.  Neoliberalism in both economics and politics is enjoying a stranglehold on society.  Its arrogant supporters blithely dismiss any information that might contradict their rigid dogma and treat all who would challenge them with contempt.  To make matters worse, the neoliberals also dominate the media and academia, making respectful or even intelligent debate virtually impossible.

Click to access veblen.pdf

2 comments so far

  1. Mike Ballard on

    “The Vested Interests, especially when
    he perceived a gap between rationality and reality, so wide that suggesting reasonable policy changes would be pointless” You’re missing the verb ‘was’.

    In a way, these lines reverberate with George Bataille’s ACCURSED SHARE: “He juxtaposed the great robber
    barons of his day flaunting their wealth with the potlatches of the Native Americans of the Northwestern, who
    demonstrated their importance by destroying great amounts of wealth in public bonfires. Although later anthropologists
    found fault with Veblen’s portrayal of the potlatch, the comparison served to make the robber barons look ridiculous”

    ‘Age’…..” Veblen must have been drawn to Swift at an early wage”

    “Exasperated, Morgan took matters into his own hands, buying us railroads and consolidating them in order to
    reduce competition. ” U.S. not us.

    “The reputation of the Post Office was favorable at the time, in contrast to the distaste for the rol of most
    government agencies.” role

    Thanks for writing this piece on Veblen. I shall definitely pay more attention to him in future.

  2. PhilJoMar on

    To Mike Ballard
    Can you tell me why you make the comparison with Bataille…I know I am ignorant about him but the Bataille I here about in literary circles is a derivative Nietzschean with a penchant for irrationalism. I am not being horrible to you but what use has Bataille for us today?
    I only put points like this because Veblen is someone I know a little about having read ‘Leisure Class’ and Absentee Ownership a few years back. I often find the similarities others see in authors I’ve read a tad confusing but I have Aspergers so it may just be me.
    Any thoughts at this juncture?

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