<<Veblen is famous in the history of economic thought for combining a Darwinian evolutionary perspective with his new institutionalist approach to economic analysis. He combined sociology with economics in his masterpiece The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) where he argued that there was a basic distinction between the productiveness of "industry", run by engineers manufacturing goods, vis-a-vis the parasitism of "business" that exists only to make profits for a leisure class. The chief activity of the leisure class was "conspicuous consumption", and their economic contribution is "waste," activity that contributes nothing to productivity.>> Were Thorsten Veblen writing today, I don't doubt that he would identify mindless "travel" about the earth in jet transports one of the new forms of parasitism and waste with which this society is afflicted. While the fashionable class of such parasites usually makes war on the lifestyle of the working class in the name of global warming, they do nothing to curb their own consumption of "travel" on eco vacations or whatever around the world.And of course travel lends itself nicely to conspicuous consumption. Explaining your travels about the water cooler is one of the privileges of such behavior, and the leisure class in the audience can be depended upon to "ooh and ahh" about travel as a precursor to explaining ones own next trip. Of course our leisure class today will protect it's fashionable habit of "travel" from any challenges.Seattle Pioneer
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