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Thorstein  B.  Veblen
[1857-1929]

Thorstein B. Veblen [1857-1929] portrait in 1920              short profile

major works

other works

works about Thorstein Veblen

family & friends

links


"Veblen is the greatest American economist." — James K. Galbraith

Sociologist-economist Thorstein B. Veblen coined the term 'conspicuous consumption',
which has reached full expression a hundred years later in the millions of people
wearing t-shirts displaying the name of a product that they cannot otherwise afford.


        Thorstein Bunde Veblen was born 30 July 1857 in Wisconsin. The family later moved to a farmstead in Minnesota, adjacent to what is now the Nerstrand 'Big Woods' State Park. Of Norwegian heritage, he spoke all his life with that accent. He attended Carleton College and Johns Hopkins, receiving his PhD at Yale in 1884. But he was unable to find work as a teacher, and lived for a while on his father's farm, reading voraciously. In 1888, he married Ellen Rolfe, niece of the president of Carleton College, against the wishes of her family. He returned to school in 1891, to Cornell, and by 1892 was an assistant professor at newly-founded Chicago University. He was founder & editor of the "Journal of Political Economy" from 1892-1905, writing many essays that attracted major respect. But during that time he was involved in scandal and was forced to resign from the university.

        Veblen's central work, "The Theory of The Leisure Class" (1899) brought him fame; its theories are still relevant and taught in many universities around the world. This scathing indictment of capitalism describes the class struggle as being not between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat (per Marx/Engels), but between businessmen – bankers, lawyers, brokers, managers – and industry: engineers, designers, technicians, and labor; in short, between making money and producing goods. His "Theory of Business Enterprise" (1904) further widened his renown.

        Veblen was hired at Stanford University in 1906, which he left under another cloud of scandal in 1909. He was divorced by his first wife in 1911, and became a lecturer at the University of Missouri, to 1918. The year 1914 was busy: he published "Instinct of Workmanship", was involved in further scandal, and married divorcee Anne Fessenden Bradley. While in Missouri, he also published "Imperial Germany" (1915) and "Inquiry Into The Nature of Peace" (1917).

        He took his family to Washington D.C. in 1918, but he was ill fit for a job in government. They soon moved to New York City, where Veblen lectured at the New School for Social Research, also continuing to write and publish: "Higher Learning In America" (1918), "Vested Interests" (1919), and "The Industrial System & The Captains of Industry" (1919). His second wife died in 1920. He published "The Engineers & the Price System" (1921). His last book, "Absentee Ownership" was published in 1923, and was below the standard of his prior work.
        After leaving the New School in 1926, Veblen stopped teaching. He moved in with his step-daughter, to a cabin in the hills above Stanford, where he lived until his death on 3 August 1929.

        Veblen's influence has grown and remains important. Howard Scott's Technocracy movement of the 1930s, the publication of "Essays" (1934), and Wesley Claire Mitchell's collection of more essays, "What Veblen Taught", have been followed by many biographical and critical works, the most recent appearing a hundred years after the publication of Veblen's "The Theory of The Leisure Class".

Thorstein Veblen entry at Wikipedia
Thorstein Veblen Store {24 titles} at Amazon
browse books by/about Thorstein Veblen {244 titles} at Amazon




Major  Veblen  Works

Theory of The Leisure Class classic book by Thorstein B. Veblen  "The Theory of The Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions" [1899]
Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [3/2013] for $1.00 {sic}
Kindle Edition from Housemartin Classics [1/2014] for 99˘ {sic}
Dover Thrift 8x5 pb [6/94] for $3.15
Modern Library 8x5¼ pb [11/2001] out of print/used
Penguin Classics pb [3/94] for $14.40
IndyPublish 9x6 pb [12/2002] out of print/used
IndyPublish 9x6 hardcover [12/2002] for $18.99
book entry at Wikipedia
Theory of Business Enterprise book by Thorstein B. Veblen  Theory of Business Enterprise Mentor paperback by Thorstein B. Veblen  
"The Theory of Business Enterprise" [1904]
Transaction Publrs pb [6/78] for $29.95
Transaction Publrs hardcover [6/78] out of print/used
A.M.Kelley hardcover [6/65] for $46.99
Instinct of Workmanship book by Thorstein B. Veblen  "The Instinct of Workmanship & The State of The Industrial Arts" [1914]
Transaction Publrs pb [12/89] for $29.95
Imperial Germany / Industrial Revolution book by Thorstein B. Veblen  "Imperial Germany & The Industrial Revolution" [1915]
Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [4/2013] for $1.09 {sic}
Transaction Publrs 9x6 pb [7/90] for $31.30
Kessinger Publng 9x6 hardcover [9/2010] for $33.08
Inquiry Into The Nature of Peace book by Thorstein B. Veblen  "An Inquiry Into The Nature of Peace & The Terms of Its Perpetuation" [1917]
Transaction Publrs pb [5/98] for $29.95
Higher Learning In America book by Thorstein B. Veblen  "The Higher Learning In America: A Memorandum On The Conduct of Universities By Business Men" [1918]
Transaction Publrs pb [11/92] for $24.95
Vested Interests / Common Man book by Thorstein B. Veblen  "The Vested Interests & The Common Man" [1919]
Transaction Publrs 9x6 pb [10/2001] for $24.95


Other  Veblen  Works
online text of 'The Barbarian Status of Women' [1898-99]
online text of 'The Beginning of Ownership' [1898-99]
online text of 'Limitations of Marginal Utility' [1909]

Science In Modern Civilization book by Thorstein B. Veblen  Science In Modern Civilization book by Thorstein B. Veblen  
"The Place of Science In Modern Civilization & Other Essays" [1918]
with a new Introduction by Warren J. Samuels

Cosimo Classics 9x6 pb [3/2007] for 27.54
Transaction Publrs pb [1/90] for $31.94
The Engineers & The Price Structure book by Thorstein B. Veblen  "The Engineers & The Price Structure" [1921]
Kindle Edition from Amazon Digital Services [5/2013] for $1.09 {sic}
Cosimo Classics 8x5 pb [9/2006] for $10.99
Transaction Publrs 9x6 pb [6/83] for $24.37
Kessinger Publng 9¾x7 hardcover [9/2010] for $23.72
Absentee Ownership book by Thorstein B. Veblen  "Absentee Ownership & Business Enterprise In Recent Times: The Case of America" [1923] with new Introduction by Marion J. Levy, Jr.
Transaction Publrs 9x6 pb [8/96] for $31.47
Laxdaela Saga Icelandic Classic  "The Laxdaela Saga: An Icelandic Classic" translation by Veblen [1925]
B.W. Huebsch, Inc. hardcover [1925] out of print/used
B.W. Huebsch, Inc. hardcover [1925] out of print/used

Translation by Magnus Magnusson
Viking 7¾x5 pb [11/69] out of print/50+ used

Essays In Our Changing Order book by Thorstein B. Veblen  "Essays In Our Changing Order" [1934]
Transaction Publrs pb [2/98] for $31.94
A.M. Kelley Publrs hardcover [6/80] for $45.00
What Veblen Taught book edited by Wesley Claire Mitchell  "What Veblen Taught: Selected Writings of Thorstein B. Veblen" [1936]
Edited by Wesley Claire Mitchell

Kessinger Publng 9x6 pb [9/2010] for $30.92
Kessinger Publng 9x6 hardcover [9/2010] for $41.72
A.M. Kelley Publrs hardcover [6/36] out of print/used
The Portable Veblen book edited by Max Lerner  "The Portable Veblen: The Essence of The Work and Thought of One of America's Great Original Minds" [1948]
Edited & with Introduction by Max Lerner

contains "The Theory of The Leisure Class" in full, selections from "The Place of Science", "Absentee Ownership", "The Instinct of Workmanship", "The Engineers and The Price System", and other works
Penguin/Viking 7x5 pb [1976] out of print/used
Viking mass pb [1958] out of print/used
Essays, Reviews & Reports of Thorstein B. Veblen book edited by Joseph Dorfman  
"Thorstein B. Veblen: Essays, Reviews & Reports - Previously Uncollected Writings" [1973]
Edited & with essay 'A New Light On Veblen' by Joseph Dorfman

A.M. Kelley Publrs 9x6 hardcover [6/73] out of print/used
Veblen Treasury book edited by Rick Tilman  "A Veblen Treasury: From Leisure Class To War, Peace & Capitalism"
[1993] Edited by Rick Tilman

A.M. Kelley Publrs 8½x6 pb [12/93] for $48.40
A.M. Kelley Publrs 9½x6¼xhardcover [12/93] out of print/used

"The Collected Works of Thorstein Veblen" [1994]
Edited by Peter Cain {4,270 pages in ten volumes}
Routledge 9½x6¼x14 inches wide hardcover set [2/94] for $3,814.25 {sic}

Culture & Society book by Thorstein B. Veblen, edited by Stjepan Mestrovic  
"Thorstein Veblen On Culture & Society" [2003]
Edited by Stjepan Mestrovic

Sage Publns 9x6.3 pb [5/2003] for $32.95
Sage Publns 9½x6¼ hardcover [5/2003] for $84.95
Essential Writings of Thorstein Veblen book edited by Charles Camic & Geoffrey M. Hodgson  "Essential Writings of Thorstein Veblen" [2010]
Edited by Charles Camic & Geoffrey M. Hodgson

38 selections that include complete texts of all of Veblen’s major articles and book reviews from 1882 to 1914, plus key chapters from his books "The Theory of The Leisure Class" [1899], "The Theory of Business Enterprise" [1904], and "The Instinct of Workmanship" [1914]
Kindle Edition from Routledge [12/2010] for $37.77 {sic}
Routledge 9¼x6 pb [12/2013] for $39.76
Routledge 9½x6½ hardcover [2/2011] for $108.68 {sic}



Works  About  Veblen

Thorstein Veblen & His America book by Joseph Dorfman  
"Thorstein Veblen and His America" [1934] by Joseph Dorfman
A.M.Kelley Publg 9½x6¼ hardcover [2/92] out of print/used
Veblen biography by John Atkinson Hobson  "Veblen" [1936 classic] by John Atkinson Hobson
A.M. Kelley Publg 8¾x5¾ hardcover [9/90 reprint] out of print/used
A.M. Kelley Publg hardcover [1971 reprint] out of print/used

online text of Hobson's "Work and Wealth: A Human Valuation" [1914]

Thorstein Veblen Critical Interpretation book by David Reisman  "Thorstein Veblen: A Critical Interpretation" [1952] by David Reisman
{1994 edition includes a new Introduction by Stjepan G. Mestrovic}
Transaction Publg 9x6¼ pb [12/94] for $21.78
Charles Scribner's Sons hardcover [1952] out of print/scarce
Innocents at Cedro book by Robert L. Duffus  "The Innocents At Cedro: A Memoir - Thorstein Veblen & Some Others" [1972] by Robert L. Duffus
A.M.Kelley Publg 8¾x5½ hardcover [1/72] for $33.25
Thorstein Veblen biography by Douglas F. Dowd  "Thorstein Veblen" [1977] by Douglas F. Dowd
Transaction Publg 9x6 pb [7/2000] for $25.07
Greenwood Publng hardcover [9/77] out of print/used
"Veblen's Theory of Social Change" [1977]
by Leonard A. Dente
Ayer Publng hardcover [4/77] out of print/used

Bard of Savagery Thorstein Veblen book by John Patrick Diggins  "The Bard of Savagery: Thorstein Veblen & Modern Social Theory" [1978]
by John Patrick Diggins

Continuum hardcover [6/78] out of print/used
Seabury Press 8¾x6¼ hardcover [6/78] out of print/used
Harvester Press/ [6/78] out of print/used
Thorstein Veblen biography by Mark Blaug   "Thorstein Veblen, 1857-1929" biography [1992] Edited by Mark Blaug
Edward Elgar Publg 10x7 hardcover [6/92] for $198.00
Mark Blaug [1927-2011] entry at Wikipedia
Thorstein Veblen Critics book by Rick Tilman  "Thorstein Veblen & His Critics, 1891-1963" [1992]
by Rick Tilman

Princeton Univ Press hardcover [3/92] out of print/used
Thorstein Veblen Critical Assessments edited by John Cunningham Wood  "Thorstein Veblen: Critical Assessments" [1993]
Edited by John Cunningham Wood

Routledge 10x6¾ hardcover [11/2004] 3 volumes for $650.00
Intellectual Legacy of Thorstein Veblen book by Rick Tilman  "The Intellectual Legacy of Thorstein Veblen" [1996]
by Rick Tilman

Greenwood Publg hardcover [9/96] out of print/used
Identification, Analysis & Critique of Veblen's 'Philosophy of Higher Education' book by Samuel Schneider  "An Identification, Analysis & Critique of Thorstein B. Veblen's Philosophy of Higher Education" [1998] by Samuel Schneider
Edwin Mellen Press 9½x6½ hardcover [4/98] for $109.95
Thorstein Veblen In The 20th Century book by Doug Brown  "Thorstein Veblen In The XXth Century: A Commemoration ofThe Theory of the Leisure Class, 1899-1999" [1998] by Doug Brown
Edward Elgar Publg hardcover [12/98] for $96.99
Dreiser and Veblen book by Clare Virginia Eby  "Dreiser and Veblen: Saboteurs of The Status Quo" [1999]
by Clare Virginia Eby

Univ MO Press 9½x6¼ hardcover [2/99] for $39.95
Firebrand Thorstein Veblen biography by Elizabeth & Henry Jorgensen  "Thorstein Veblen: Victorian Firebrand" [1999]
by Elizabeth & Henry Jorgensen

M.E. Sharpe 9¼x6¼ hardcover [4/99] for $43.95
Thorstein Veblen biography by John Patrick Diggins  "Thorstein Veblen: Theorist of The Leisure Class" [1999]
by John Patrick Diggins

Princeton Univ Press 9x6 pb [5/99] for $23.95
Princeton Univ Press 9½x6½ hardcover [5/99] for $75.00
Economics / Evolutionary Science book edited by Francisco Louca & Mark Perlman  "Is Economics An Evolutionary Science?: The Legacy of Thorstein Veblen" [2000] Edited by Francisco Louca & Mark Perlman
Edward Elgar Publg hardcover [10/2000] for $101.99
Veblen In Perspective book by Stephen Edgell  "Veblen In Perspective: His Life & Thought" [2001]
by Stephen Edgell

M.E. Sharpe 9x6 pb [5/2001] for $25.95
M.E. Sharpe 9.3x6.3 hardcover [5/2001] for $59.95
Veblen's Century book edited by Irving Louis Horowitz  "Veblen's Century: A Collective Portrait" [2001]
Edited by Irving Louis Horowitz

Essays by C. Wright Mills, Max Lerner, David Reisman, Douglas Dowd & others written for reissues by Transaction Publishing of all Veblen's works
Transaction Publg 9x6 pb [12/2002] for $29.95
Transaction Publg hardcover [11/2001] for $49.95
Veblen / Revolutionary Iconoclast book by Michael Spindler  "Veblen and Modern America: Revolutionary Iconoclast" [2002]
by Michael Spindler

Pluto Press 8½x5¼ pb [8/2002] for $19.95
Pluto Press 9x5¼ hardcover [8/2002] for $69.95
Legacy of Thorstein Veblen book edited by Rick Tilman  "The Legacy of Thorstein Veblen" [2003] Edited by Rick Tilman
Edward Elgar Publg hardcover [9/2003]
ten volumes for $665.00 [!]

"An Introduction To Thorstein Veblen's Economic Theory" [2003]
by Adil Hasan Mouhammed
Edwin Mellen Press 9x6¼ hardcover [9/2003] for $117.69 {sic}

Veblen, Dewey & Mills book by Rick Tilman  
"Veblen, Dewey and Mills: An Intellectual Relationship" [2003]
by Rick Tilman

Rowman & Littlefield 9x6 hardcover [12/2003] for $65.00
Thorstein Veblen & The American Way of Life book by Louis Patsouras  "Thorstein Veblen & The American Way of Life" [2004]
by Louis Patsouras

Black Rose 9x6½ pb [5/2004] for $21.64
Black Rose 9x6½ library hardcover [5/2004] for $55.99
Veblen In Plain English book by Ken McCormick  "Veblen In Plain English: A Complete Introduction To Thorstein
Veblen's Economics" [2006] by Ken McCormick

Cambria Press 9x6 pb [4/2006] for $29.95
Cambria Press 9½x6¼ hardcover [10/2006] for $79.95
Thorstein Veblen / Evolutionary Naturalism book by Rick Tilman  "Thorstein Veblen and the Enrichment of Evolutionary Naturalism"
[2007] by Rick Tilman

Univ Missouri 9½x6½ hardcover [4/2007] for $42.10
Thorstein Veblen & Free Market Capitalism book edited by Janet Knoedler, Robert Prasch & Dell Champlin  "Thorstein Veblen and The Revival of Free Market Capitalism" [2007]
Edited by Janet T. Knoedler, Robert E. Prasch & Dell P. Champlin

The authors have chosen contributors that support the {FALSE!} premise
that laissez faire economics is now 'restored' as "the governing principle of
contemporary economic ideology and policy-making"
— while the Oligarchs
are indeed winning the Class War, there is no economy on the planet where
laissez faire capitalism is being practiced!

Edward Elgar Publng 9¼x6 hardcover [9/2007] for $120.65 {sic}
Political Ideas of Thorstein Veblen book by Sidney Plotkin & Rick Tilman  
"The Political Ideas of Thorstein Veblen" [2011]
by Sidney Plotkin & Rick Tilman

Kindle Edition from Yale Univ Press [12/2011] for $16.50
Yale Univ Press 9¼x6¼ pb [12/2011] for $27.00
Social Economics of Thorstein Veblen book by David Reisman  "The Social Economics of Thorstein Veblen" [2012]
by David Reisman

Edward Elgar Publng 9¾x6½ hardcover [7/2012] for $142.50 {sic}
The Collected Short Works of Thorstein Veblen in 3 volumes  "The Collected Short Works of Thorstein Veblen" in 3 volumes [2014]
Volume 1: Vernon Press hardcover [DUE March 2014] for list price $45.00
Volumes 2 & 3 are designed, but release not yet scheduled
publisher's bookpage

http://www.amazon.com/Imperial-Germany-Industrial-Revolution-Classics/dp/159605882X/
http://www.amazon.com/Inquiry-Nature-Peace-Terms-Perpetuation/dp/1434662241/
http://www.amazon.com/Instinct-Workmanship-State-Industrial-Arts/dp/1596058935/
http://www.amazon.com/Theory-Leisure-Class-Thorstein-Veblen/dp/1434636216/
http://www.amazon.com/Theory-Leisure-Class-Thorstein-Veblen/dp/1602061793/
http://www.amazon.com/Theory-Leisure-Oxford-Worlds-Classics/dp/019280684X/



Audio  &  eBooks

Thorstein Veblen & Institutionalism audio narrated by Louis Rukeyser  
"Thorstein Veblen & Institutionalism" [1997]
Narrated by Louis Rukeyser

Knowledge Products cassette [3/97] out of prodn/used



Family  &  Friends
Thorstein Bunde Veblen was born in 1857 in Wisconsin; he died in 1929 at age 72 in California.

first wife Ellen Rolfe Veblen [] - married 1888, divorced 1911

third wife Anne Fessenden Bradley Veblen [-1920] - married 1914, died 1920
step-daughter Ann Bradley []
step-daughter Becky Bradley [] moved with him to Menlo Park, California

nephew mathematician Oswald Veblen [1880–1960]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oswald_Veblen


Veblen expert Joseph Dorfman [1904?-1991]
Emeritus Professor of Economics at Columbia University in New York City

sociologist & Veblen expert Stjepan Mestrovic
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stjepan_Me%C5%A1trovi%C4%87

sociologist & Veblen expert David Reisman [1909-2002]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reisman#Further_reading

Veblen expert L. Rick Tilman lives in Flagstaff, Arizona
Professor Emeritus of Public Administration at University of Nevada - Las Vegas
now Adjunct Professor of History at Northern Arizona University



L i n k s
Thorstein Veblen entry at Wikipedia
Thorstein Veblen Store {24 titles} at Amazon
browse books by/about Thorstein Veblen {244 titles} at Amazon
International Thorstein Veblen Assn. [est. 1994] based at Vassar College in New York

Restoration of the Veblen Farm
Jonathan Larson on Veblen's Aesthetics
Veblen-Commons Award [est. 1969] by A.F.E.E.
Veblenite / Veblen Project sites
Veblen Institute for Economic Reforms in Paris, France
Elegant Technology website's Veblen fanpages
Veblen Intl. fashion industry recruiters in Covent Garden, London, UK
Veblen Conference [7/2012] held by Chamber of Electrical Engineers {E.M.O.} in Turkey



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