Thorstein Veblen

What Lawn History Says About Status

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Comments (2)
  1. Rick Shapiro says:

    Veblen was doing more than making fun of us when he invented the term ‘conspicuous consumption’. He was very clear that modern conspicuous consumption is a vestige of the predatory warrior ethos of barbarian ancestors, in which any activity which is economically productive, or which doesn’t have the flavor of warfare or the hunt, is disdained as fit only for villeins or women.
    This, incidentally, is a biologically influenced reason why prejudice against dark-skinned people is so prevalent in Europe and Asia. In our not-so-distant past of agricultural societies, dark skin was a mark of doing actual work in the fields (i.e., of the peasant class). It was abhorred by both aristocrats and by aspirational bourgeois gentilhommes. When such societies came into contact with people who were intrinsically darker, the attitudes carried over.

    1. Elaine Schwartz says:

      Thanks, Rick, for adding to my Veblen discussion