Veblen's Century: A Collective Portrait

1st Edition

Irving Horowitz

Routledge
Published October 31, 2001
Reference - 338 Pages
ISBN 9780765808820 - CAT# Y364714

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Summary

Thorstein Veblen has a place of honor reserved for truly important figures. Economist, iconoclast, social critic, and moral judge of the American way of life, he has continued to attract the attention of students and scholars alike. People from every spectrum of political thought and every branch of the social sciences have been drawn to his work-sometimes in praise, other times in criticism, but always with a sense of measuring what Veblen said and often how he said it.Veblen was, in the final analysis, an anthropologist of America as an advanced culture, as much a figure of the young twentieth century of America triumphant, as Tocqueville was a figure of the young nineteenth century of America ascending. We share with Veblen a sense of the observer peering at the complex foundation of behavior, whether such behavior is defined in terms of attitudes toward work and leisure, wealth and poverty, and finally, global war and peace.An examination of the contributors to the Veblen literature in this masterful volume serves to make clear just how vital Veblen was and remains to our cultural landscape. Whether the reader selects from or reads all of the statements by David Riesman, Douglas Dowd, Max Lerner, E. Digby Baltzell, Wesley Clair Mitchell, C. Wright Mills, Daniel Bell, and the other outstanding participants in Veblen's Century, the pulsating vitality of Veblen himself is well captured. Indeed, a little bit of Veblen is encapsulated in and by his commentators.Veblen's Century originated as a project initiated in 1974 by Professor Horowitz to reissue the entire corpus of Veblen's writings in new editions with introductions written expressly with this larger purpose of bringing the master of economic theory to the attention of a new generation. That the project took more than a quarter century to complete is indicative of the care with which each new essay is crafted. In addition, with Transaction being identified as the "home" of Veblen, books on him were offered to the firm for reissuing. Thus, the inclusion of contemporary masters who knew Veblen, as well as those writing on specific texts enhance the volume.

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