THORSTEIN VEBLEN. HIS LIFE, WORK AND INFLUENCE ON ECONOMIC THOUGHT (ON THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF BIRTH)
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The article pays a tribute to Thorstein Veblen's memory on the very special occasion. This original and famous social thinker was born just 150 years ago. First part of the text gives short Veblen's scientific biography. The next part presents and discusses the basic theory of Veblen, which the author labels 'institutional evolutionism'. A further passage describes Veblen's attitude towards American capitalism and his criticism of economic orthodoxy. Veblen is consistent in treating capitalism as an almost exclusively pecuniary culture. In his view the twentieth century capitalism is dominated by the new 'leisure class' - the 'big business', what causes completely wasteful pecuniary emulation. All this was ignored by the orthodox economic thought. And that was the reason of Veblen's radical criticism of the mainstream academic economics of his time.The last part of the article outlines the influence of Veblen's scientific heritage on socio-economic thinking (the emergence of institutional and neo-institutional trends in American economics, Veblen's inspirations visible in views of many great contemporary thinkers, including John Kenneth Galbraith and Gunnar Myrdal, etc.). One of the latest examples of Veblen's inspiring impact is American journalist David Brooks and his book 'Bobos in Paradise. The New Upper Class and How They Got There' (2000).
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