Who Is Thorstein Veblem?

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Thorstein Veblem was a Norwegian-American economist and sociologist. Veblen was born on July 30, 1857, in Cato, Wisconsin, to Norwegian American immigrant parents, Thomas Veblen and Kari Bunde. He was the fourth of twelve children in the Veblen family. His parents emigrated from Norway to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 16, 1847, with little funds and no knowledge of English. (Wikipedia n.d.). As a boy Veblen started school at five where he learned to speak English form his class mates and peers around him.

Veblen attend the Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. Later in his he developed interest in Social Sciences. Veblen graduated from Yale in 1884 and after several attempts to get a job he found a post as a lecturer at the University
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Conspicuous consumption refers to buying certain products to make a social statement about status. Carrying pricey but eco-friendly water bottles could indicate a person’s social standing. Some people buy expensive trendy sneakers even though they will never wear them to jog or play sports. A $17,000 car provides transportation as easily as a $100,000 vehicle, but the luxury car makes a social statement that the less expensive car can’t live up to. All of these symbols of stratification are worthy of examination by an interactionist. (Little, Introduction to Sociology, Symbolic Section, para. 5.)

Veblen's theory of the leisure class is to be compared to that of Marx's theory. Marx was of the view that the upper class were at "swords points" with one another and the inevitable historical outcome would be the violent overthrow of the upper classes. Veblen, however, was of the view that the lower classes were not out to overthrow the upper class; but, rather, strived to climb up to it. Its presence, indeed, served the larger community by setting the example and giving. (echeat,
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