Thorstein B. Veblen



Thorstein Bunde Veblen (30 July 1857 – 3 August 1929) was an American economist and sociologist, who during his lifetime emerged as a well-known critic of capitalism. In his best-known book, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), Veblen coined the concept of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure. Historians of economics regard Veblen as the founding father of the institutional economics school. Contemporary economists still theorize Veblen's distinction between "institutions" and "technology", known as the Veblenian dichotomy. As a leading intellectual of the Progressive Era in the United States of America, Veblen attacked production for profit. His emphasis on conspicuous consumption greatly influenced economists who engaged in non-Marxist critiques of capitalism and of technological determinism.