The Theory of the Leisure Class


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(4.4 stars; 7 reviews)

Originally published by the Norwegian-American economist Thorstein Veblen while he was a professor at the University of Chicago in 1898, the Theory of the Leisure Class is considered one of the great works of economics as well as the first detailed critique of consumerism. In the book, Veblen argues that economic life is driven not by notions of utility, but by social vestiges from pre-historic times. (Summary modified from Wikipedia)

Proof-Listeners: Illiterati, Sarah Jennings, mim@can, Ken Sterry and Barry Eads (11 hr 51 min)

Chapters

01 - Chapter I - Introductory, Part One 16:59 Read by Anna Simon
02 - Chapter I - Introductory, Part Two 17:39 Read by Anna Simon
03 - Chapter II - Pecuniary Emulation 24:04 Read by Leni
04 - Chapter III - Conspicuous Leisure, Part One 18:05 Read by Leni
05 - Chapter III - Conspicuous Leisure, Part Two 22:14 Read by Leni
06 - Chapter III - Conspicuous Leisure, Part Three 21:08 Read by Leni
07 - Chapter IV - Conspicuous Consumption, Part One 20:00 Read by sarac
08 - Chapter IV - Conspicuous Consumption, Part Two 15:41 Read by sarac
09 - Chapter IV - Conspicuous Consumption, Part Three 15:31 Read by sarac
10 - Chapter V - The Pecuniary Standard of Living 19:17 Read by MorganScorpion
11 - Chapter VI - Pecuniary Canons of Taste, Part One 18:02 Read by MorganScorpion
12 - Chapter VI - Pecuniary Canons of Taste, Part Two 18:04 Read by MorganScorpion
13 - Chapter VI - Pecuniary Canons of Taste, Part Three 16:20 Read by MorganScorpion
14 - Chapter VI - Pecuniary Canons of Taste, Part Four 18:08 Read by MorganScorpion
15 - Chapter VI - Pecuniary Canons of Taste, Part Five 14:45 Read by MorganScorpion
16 - Chapter VII - Dress as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture, Part One 21:38 Read by Tracy Datlen
17 - Chapter VII - Dress as an Expression of the Pecuniary Culture, Part Two 20:25 Read by Tracy Datlen
18 - Chapter VIII - Industrial Exemption and Conservatism, Part One 23:54 Read by Tracy Datlen
19 - Chapter VIII - Industrial Exemption and Conservatism, Part Two 20:12 Read by Sienna
20 - Chapter IX - The Conservation of Archaic Traits, Part One 21:04 Read by mb
21 - Chapter IX - The Conservation of Archaic Traits, Part Two 23:22 Read by mb
22 - Chapter IX - The Conservation of Archaic Traits, Part Three 25:08 Read by Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
23 - Chapter X - Modern Survivals of Prowess, Part One 16:25 Read by Ata Khudayberdiev
24 - Chapter X - Modern Survivals of Prowess, Part Two 22:04 Read by Sienna
25 - Chapter X - Modern Survivals of Prowess, Part Three 17:33 Read by Rachel Resnick
26 - Chapter XI - The Belief in Luck, Part One 15:34 Read by Anna Simon
27 - Chapter XI - The Belief in Luck, Part Two 14:21 Read by Anna Simon
28 - Chapter XII - Devout Observances, Part One 19:46 Read by Matthew Westra
29 - Chapter XII - Devout Observances, Part Two 17:37 Read by Matthew Westra
30 - Chapter XII - Devout Observances, Part Three 18:54 Read by Matthew Westra
31 - Chapter XII - Devout Observances, Part Four 16:47 Read by Matthew Westra
32 - Chapter XIII - Survivals of the Non-Invidious Interests, Part One 18:07 Read by musil
33 - Chapter XIII - Survivals of the Non-Invidious Interests, Part Two 20:16 Read by musil
34 - Chapter XIII - Survivals of the Non-Invidious Interests, Part Three 20:09 Read by musil
35 - Chapter XIV - The Higher Learning as an Expression of the Pecuniary Cultur… 16:19 Read by J. M. Smallheer
36 - Chapter XIV - The Higher Learning as an Expression of the Pecuniary Cultur… 15:20 Read by J. M. Smallheer
37 - Chapter XIV - The Higher Learning as an Expression of the Pecuniary Cultur… 16:27 Read by J. M. Smallheer
38 - Chapter XIV - The Higher Learning as an Expression of the Pecuniary Cultur… 14:09 Read by J. M. Smallheer

Reviews

The classic social critique of class cultures

(4 stars)

A must read for social theorists and economists alike. Veblen's classic theoretical text identifies the wasteful elements and origins of consumer lifestyles by tracing the unfolding of human societal evolution from predatory to more peaceable societies driven he argues by the instinctive motive of emulation which is the desire for increase and displaying evidences of pecuniary strength (wealth) and standing well in the thoughts of others (reputability)

Great book

(4.5 stars)

Overall a great book with many interesting concepts that still apply today, Veblen had insights that helped shape the current economic thought and his theories pave the way for the understanding of consumerism without making many generalizations towards individual consumer choices.

Interesting outlook about society

(5 stars)

A nice introduction to sociology