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Thorstein Veblen: A Marxist Starting Point

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  • Kirsten Ford
  • William McColloch

Abstract

As the radical institutionalist literature attests, in spite of methodological differences Marx and Veblen draw strikingly similar conclusions regarding production, conflict, and alienation in modern life. Here we attempt to contribute to this viewpoint by establishing that similarity in conclusion stems from similarity in approach. After reviewing the existing literature on a Marx-Veblen methodological reconciliation, we briefly review Marx's method, making the mediated starting point the focus of discussion. From this vantage point, we then examine Veblen's own approach to analysis in The Theory of Business Enterprise and the conclusions that emerge as they resemble those of Marx. We maintain that in taking a kindred approach Veblen is able to arrive at an understanding of capitalism in accordance with, and complementary to, Marx's rendering of the inverted nature of economic life in modernity.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirsten Ford & William McColloch, 2012. "Thorstein Veblen: A Marxist Starting Point," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 765-778.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:46:y:2012:i:3:p:765-778
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624460309
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