By Thorsten Veblen
All through heritage, a few books have replaced the realm. they've got remodeled the best way we see ourselves ? and every different. they've got encouraged debate, dissent, battle and revolution. they've got enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. they've got enriched lives ? and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the good thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose rules shook civilization and helped make us who we're. With its wry portrayal of a shallow, materialistic ?leisure type? obsessed via outfits, autos, client items and hiking the social ladder, this withering satire on smooth capitalism is as pertinent this present day as while it used to be written over a century in the past.
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The activity of the men more and more takes on the character of exploit; and an invidious comparison of one hunter or warrior with another grows continually easier and more habitual. Tangible evidences of prowess – trophies – find a place in men’s habits of thought as an essential feature of the paraphernalia of life. Booty, trophies of the chase or of the raid, come to be prized as evidence of preeminent force. Aggression becomes the accredited form of action, and booty serves as prima facie evidence of successful aggression.
As the tradition gains consistency, the common sense of the community erects it into a canon of conduct; so that no employment and no acquisition is morally possible to the self-respecting man at this cultural stage, except such as proceeds on the basis of prowess – force or fraud. When the predatory habit of life has been settled upon the group by long habituation, it becomes the able-bodied man’s accredited office in the social economy to kill, to destroy such competitors in the struggle for existence as attempt to resist or elude him, to overcome and reduce to subservience those alien forces that assert themselves refractorily in the environment.
Therefore, by contrast, the obtaining of goods by other methods than seizure comes to be accounted unworthy of man in his best estate. The performance of productive work, or employment in personal service, falls under the same odium for the same reason. An invidious distinction in this way arises between exploit and acquisition by seizure on the one hand and industrial employment on the other hand. Labour acquires a character of irksomeness by virtue of the indignity imputed to it. With the primitive barbarian, before the simple content of the notion has been obscured by its own ramifications and by a secondary growth of cognate ideas, ‘honourable’ seems to connote nothing else than assertion of superior force.
Conspicuous Consumption by Thorsten Veblen