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John Adams, Thorstein Veblen, and the Social Foundations of the Economy

Author

Listed:
  • June O'Neill

    (Baruch College, City University of New York
    Congressional Budget Office)

  • John Adams

    (Northeastern University)

Abstract

John Adams, the second president of the United States, and Thorstein Veblen are two of the nation's most original social thinkers. Although there is no evidence of any direct link between the two, they share common views of economic affairs. They believed that consumption was driven by emulation and status rivalry, a notion perfectly captured in Veblen's most memorable phrase, "conspicuous consumption." Adams and Veblen saw the economy as embedded in a constantly evolving social, legal, and political matrix. They harbored doubts about the social and moral consequences of financial capitalism, as contrasted with their admiration for directly productive agriculture, crafts, and industry. Their shared holism, and a derivative emphasis on property and power relationships, sharply distinguishes their viewpoint from that of modern economic science, but allies them with American and European institutionalists.

Suggested Citation

  • June O'Neill & John Adams, 1997. "John Adams, Thorstein Veblen, and the Social Foundations of the Economy," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 379-394, Fall.
  • Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:23:y:1997:i:4:p:379-394
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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/eej/Archive/Volume23/V23N4P379_394.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John DiNardo & Thomas Lemieux, 1992. "Alcohol, Marijuana, and American Youth: The Unintended Effects of Government Regulation," NBER Working Papers 4212, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Coate, Douglas & Grossman, Michael, 1988. "Effects of Alcoholic Beverage Prices and Legal Drinking Ages on Youth Alcohol Use," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 145-171, April.
    3. Michael Grossman & Frank J. Chaloupka & Henry Saffer & Adit Laixuthai, 1993. "Effects of Alcohol Price Policy on Youth," NBER Working Papers 4385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Chaloupka, Frank J & Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1993. "Alcohol-Control Policies and Motor-Vehicle Fatalities," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 161-186, January.
    5. Henry Saffer & Michael Grossman, 1986. "Beer Taxes, the Legal Drinking Age, and Youth Motor Vehicle Fatalities," NBER Working Papers 1914, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1984:74:7:668-672_1 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • B15 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • B25 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary; Austrian; Stockholm School

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