Classic of economic and social theory offers a satiric examination of the hollowness and falsity suggested by the term "conspicuous consumption," exposing the emptiness of many cherished standards of taste, education, dress, and culture. Since first appearing in 1899, it has become a classic of social theory that has contributed to the modernization of economic policy.
It's true to say that Veblen's book is one of the great classics of economic theory; however, such a description suggests (at least to non-economists like myself) that the book will be either dull or remorselessly technical. On the contrary, "The Theory of the Leisure Class" is stylishly written, endlessly startling (for example, Veblen analyses religion as an outgrowth of the gambling instinct), and very, very funny. Its expose of "conspicuous consumption" (yes, Veblen was the one who invented this famous concept) is as relevant today as it was in 1899, if not more so. Whether or not you agree with all that he says, it's thought-provoking and exciting stuff.
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