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Thorstein Veblen and His Critics, 1891-1963:
Conservative, Liberal, and Radical Perspectives
Rick Tilman

Paperback | 2014 | $55.00 | £45.95 | ISBN: 9780691604602
Hardcover | 2016 | $137.50 | £116.95 | ISBN: 9780691633664
380 pp. | 6 x 9
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The influential economist and philosopher Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929) was one of the most original and penetrating critics of American culture and institutions, and his work attracted and still attracts the attention of scholars from a wide range of political viewpoints and scholarly disciplines. Focusing on the doctrinal and theoretical facets of Veblen's political economy, this book offers a study not only of his ideas but also of the way his critics have responded to them. Rick Tilman assesses the weight of the critics' reactions, both positive and negative, as well as exposing their sometimes mistaken interpretations of Veblen's work. As he scrutinizes the ideologies of the conservatives, liberals, and radicals who commented on Veblen, he portrays the diversity of social theory in the first half of the twentieth century. Beginning with the first criticism of Veblen's work during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison and concluding with Daniel Bell's attack on him during the Kennedy administration, the book emphasizes those critics who systematically confronted the doctrinal structure of Veblen's thought and believed that they perceived in it fundamental weaknesses. But even the most negatively inclined--such as Paul Baran, Irving Fisher, and Talcott Parsons--admitted some of Veblen's strengths. Ironically, his supporters at times stripped his work of much of its potential for political and moral enlightenment without intending to do so.

Originally published in 1992.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.


"[Tilman] asserts that Veblen stands in the front rank of modern Western social theorists.... Tilman writes with clarity and intelligence. He understands the cultural determinants of human behavior, including the market economy."--Journal of American History

Table of Contents:

Ch. 1 Veblen: The Man and His Critics 3
Ch. 2 Conservative Critics: The Early Period 18
Ch. 3 Conservative Critics: The Chicagoites 47
Ch. 4 Conservative Critics: The Religious Assault 71
Ch. 5 Liberal Critics: The Progressives 88
Ch. 6 Liberal Critics: The Institutionalists 114
Ch. 7 Liberal Critics: The Neoinstitutionalists 153
Ch. 8 Liberal Critics: Harvard and Columbia Style 163
Ch. 9 Radical Critics: The Frankfurt School 190
Ch. 10 Radical Critics: The Monthly Review 206
Ch. 11 Radical Critics: Marxism, Trotskyism, and Social Democracy 234
Ch. 12 The Ideological Use and Abuse of Thorstein Veblen 259
Notes 287
Archives Consulted 345
Index 351


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  • For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

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File created: 7/11/2017

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