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The Theory of the Leisure Class


  • Banta, Martha
    (Professor Emeritus, University of Calilfornia, Los Angeles)


  • Veblen, Thorstein


'Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure.' In The Theory of the Leisure Class Thorstein Veblen sets out 'to discuss the place and value of the leisure class as an economic factor in modern life'. In so doing he produced a landmark study of affluent American society that exposes, with brilliant ruthlessness, the habits of production and waste that link invidious business tactics and barbaric social behaviour. Veblen's analysis of the evolutionary process sees greed as the overriding motive in the modern economy; with an impartial gaze he examines the human cost paid when social institutions exploit the consumption of unessential goods for the sake of personal profit. Fashion, beauty, animals, sports, the home, the clergy, scholars - all are assessed for their true usefulness and found wanting. The targets of Veblen's coruscating satire are as evident today as they were a century ago, and his book still has the power to shock and enlighten. Veblen's uncompromising arguments and the influential literary force of his writing are assessed in Martha Banta's Introduction. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Suggested Citation

  • Veblen, Thorstein, 2009. "The Theory of the Leisure Class," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199552580 edited by Banta, Martha.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780199552580

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    Cited by:

    1. Leonardo Becchetti & Riccardo Massari & Paolo Naticchioni, 2014. "The drivers of happiness inequality: suggestions for promoting social cohesion," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 419-442.
    2. Liu, Qianqian & Wang, Shaojian & Zhang, Wenzhong & Li, Jiaming & Kong, Yunlong, 2019. "Examining the effects of income inequality on CO2 emissions: Evidence from non-spatial and spatial perspectives," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 236(C), pages 163-171.
    3. Ivis García, 2019. "Historically Illustrating the Shift to Neoliberalism in the U.S. Home Mortgage Market," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-16, January.
    4. Alexander Antony Dunlap, 2015. "The Expanding Techniques of Progress: Agricultural Biotechnology and UN-REDD+," Review of Social Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 73(1), pages 89-112, March.
    5. Ileana-Andra MARCULESC, 2016. "The Consumption Decision At The Crossroads Between Standard Economics And Behavioural Economics1," THE YEARBOOK OF THE "GH. ZANE" INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC RESEARCHES, Gheorghe Zane Institute for Economic and Social Research ( from THE ROMANIAN ACADEMY, JASSY BRANCH), vol. 25(1), pages 19-32.
    6. BARTOLINI Stefano & SARRACINO Francesco, 2011. "Happy for How Long? How Social Capital and GDP relate to Happiness over Time," LISER Working Paper Series 2011-60, LISER.
    7. Ajitha, S. & Sivakumar, V.J., 2017. "Understanding the effect of personal and social value on attitude and usage behavior of luxury cosmetic brands," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 103-113.
    8. Bilancini, Ennio & D'Alessandro, Simone, 2012. "Long-run welfare under externalities in consumption, leisure, and production: A case for happy degrowth vs. unhappy growth," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 194-205.
    9. Marjit, Sugata & Roychowdhury, Punarjit, 2011. "Status, Poverty and Trade," MPRA Paper 33730, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Kim, Jae-Eun & Lloyd, Stephen & Cervellon, Marie-Cécile, 2016. "Narrative-transportation storylines in luxury brand advertising: Motivating consumer engagement," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 304-313.
    11. Rengs, Bernhard & Scholz-Waeckerle, Manuel, 2017. "Consumption & Class in Evolutionary Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 80021, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Bartelmus, Peter, 1999. "Economic growth and patterns of sustainability," Wuppertal Papers 98, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.
    13. Bernhard Rengs & Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle, 2019. "Consumption & class in evolutionary macroeconomics," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 229-263, March.
    14. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2010. "Happiness: A New Approach in Economics," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 8(4), pages 3-7, 01.
    15. de Waal Malefyt, Timothy, 2015. "Relationship advertising: How advertising can enhance social bonds," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 68(12), pages 2494-2502.
    16. Kristin Kronenberg & Tobias Kronenberg, 2011. "Keeping up with the Joneses by finding a better-paid job - The effect of relative income on job mobility," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1445, European Regional Science Association.
    17. Alina Maria NEAȚU, 2015. "The use of behavioral economics in promoting public policy," Theoretical and Applied Economics, Asociatia Generala a Economistilor din Romania - AGER, vol. 0(2(603), S), pages 255-264, Summer.
    18. Luca Fiorito & Massimiliano Vatiero, 2011. "La posizionalità come presupposto della relazionalità; e viceversa," Department of Economics University of Siena 610, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    19. Zeballos, Eliana, 2018. "Destructive actions and productivity: Experimental evidence on interpersonal comparisons among dairy farmers in Bolivia," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 82-94.
    20. Holger Preuss, 2013. "The Contribution of the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games to Green Economy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 5(8), pages 1-20, August.
    21. Robert Van Horn & Monica Van Horn, 2013. "What Would Adam Smith Have on His iPod? Uses of Music in Teaching the History of Economic Thought," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 64-73, March.
    22. Ilyana Kuziemko & Ryan W. Buell & Taly Reich & Michael I. Norton, 2011. ""Last-place Aversion": Evidence and Redistributive Implications," NBER Working Papers 17234, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Nataliya Kochkina & Evgeniya Popova, 2017. "Are Books Luxury Goods in Russia or not?," ACEI Working Paper Series AWP-06-2017, Association for Cultural Economics International, revised Jul 2017.
    24. repec:agr:journl:v:2(602):y:2015:i:2(602):p:255-264 is not listed on IDEAS

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