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Sociology

Briefly acquaint yourself with the Encyclopedia Britannica entry about Thorstein Veblen

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Thorstein Bunde Veblen was an American Economist and Social Scientist. His book, The Theory of the Leisure Class is known for making waves in the circle of economists with


respect to how the economics of the different 'classes' works. Two most important terms he brought into play are conspicuous consumption and pecuniary consumption.


Conspicuous consumption is when an object is sought after in order to prove a point of being 'upper class. It may be anything that is used to flaunt 'class' even though there are


other alternatives available that fulfill the purpose of the object. E.g., Luxury cars. Pecuniary Consumption is when people of certain classes imitate the spending habits of people of 'upper class' in order to appear 'upper class. After reading a couple of pages from the book one understands that, Classes determined what work someone could or could not do e., It affected the employability of a person. It talks about how class determines the social structure and manner of life. He stresses about barbarianism and warrior


classes and how some ties of work are allowed to only some classes of people. Ownership as such is attributed to groups and not individuals. What someone does, or doesn't do is seen to affect the community as a whole. As such, any action that brings pride or shame to an individual brings pride or shame to the class that the person belongs to. It details the concept of pecuniary emulation - the aping of spending habits of the upper class by members of the lower class in order to appear as belonging to the upper class. I believe Veblen's book and his theory are apt even in today's world where luxury products are sold and bought only for the sake of appearing to be of high class. Both terms are so relevant even in the contemporary period

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