By Thorsten Veblen
All through historical past, a few books have replaced the area. they've got remodeled the way in which we see ourselves ? and every different. they've got encouraged debate, dissent, battle and revolution. they've got enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. they've got enriched lives ? and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the nice thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose principles shook civilization and helped make us who we're. With its wry portrayal of a shallow, materialistic ?leisure type? obsessed by way of outfits, autos, purchaser items and mountaineering the social ladder, this withering satire on glossy capitalism is as pertinent this present day as while it was once written over a century in the past.
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Additional info for Conspicuous Consumption
In his own eyes he is not a labourer, and he is not to be classed with the women in this respect; nor is his effort to be classed with the women’s drudgery, as labour or industry, in such a sense as to admit of its being confounded with the latter. There is in all barbarian communities a profound sense of the disparity between man’s and woman’s work. His work may conduce to the maintenance of the group, but it is felt that it does so through an excellence and an efficacy of a kind that cannot without derogation be compared with the uneventful diligence of the women.
The opportunity and the incentive to emulation increase greatly in scope and urgency. The activity of the men more and more takes on the character of exploit; and an invidious comparison of one hunter or warrior with another grows continually easier and more habitual. Tangible evidences of prowess – trophies – find a place in men’s habits of thought as an essential feature of the paraphernalia of life. Booty, trophies of the chase or of the raid, come to be prized as evidence of preeminent force.
Special training in personal service costs time and effort, and where it is obviously present in a high degree, it argues that the servant who possesses it, neither is nor has been habitually engaged in any productive occupation. It is prima facie evidence of a vicarious leisure extending far back in the past. So that trained service has utility, not only as gratifying the master’s instinctive liking for good and skilful workmanship and his propensity for conspicuous dominance over those whose lives are subservient to his own, but it has utility also as putting in evidence a much larger consumption of human service than would be shown by the mere present conspicuous leisure performed by an untrained person.