Thorstein Veblen

1857 - 1929


The Author


Thorstein Bunde Veblen, economist and social critic, was born in Cato Township, Wisc., in 1857. He did postgraduate work at John Hopkins and received a Ph. D. from Yale in 1884. But no job was available for him and he went back to his father's farm. In 1892 he finally got his first academic job at the University of Chicago. He lived eccentrically and was requested to resign. He continued to teach at a number of colleges: at Stanford (1906-09), at the University of Missouri (1911-18), at the New School for Social Research (1919-27), but he was not a successful lecturer. His last years he lived in a shack in the woods near Palo Alto, where he died in 1929. He is best known for his book "The Theory of the Leisure Class", that introduced the concept of "conspicuous consumption".


"Veblen was a professional anti-specialist, he was a social thinker in the grand tradition, for he tried to grasp the essentials of an entire society and epoch, to delineate the characters of the typical men within it, and to determine its main drift" (C. Wright Mills).




The Works


Böhm-Bawerk's Definition of Capital (1892) >>>

Why is Economics Not an Evolutionary Science (1898) >>>

The Barbarian Status of Women (1898-1899) >>>

The Beginnings of Ownership (1898-1899) >>>

The Instinct of Workmanship and the Irksomeness of Labor (1898-1899) >>>

The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899)

The Preconceptions of Economic Science:

Part 1 (1899) >>>

Part 2 (1899) >>>

Part 3 (1900) >>>

The Theory of Business Enterprise (1904) >>>

The Socialist Economics of Karl Marx (1906):

Part 1 >>>

Part 2 >>>

Fisher's Capital and Income (1908) >>>

The Limitations of Marginal Utility (1909) >>>

Fisher's Rate of Interest (1909) >>>

The Instinct of Workmanship and the State of the Industrial Arts (1914)

Imperial Germany and the Industrial Revolution(1915)

An Inquiry in the Nature of Peace (1917)

The Higher Learning in America (1918) >>>

The Place of Science in Modern Civilization (1919)

The Vested Interests and the Common Man (1919) >>>

A Review of J. M. Keynes >>>

The Engineers and the Price System (1921)

Absentee Ownership (1923)

Essays in our Changing Order (posthume)





Veblen collection in Rod Hay's Archive for the History of Economic Thought (McMaster University)