Economics for an Age of Crises
About This Book
‘An important book for all social scientists. The contributors both situate Veblen historically and bring his work alive for discussion of contemporary issues – and his work is very helpful indeed.’ —Craig Calhoun, Director, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
‘[T]he book’s essays offer a very interesting token of Veblen scholarship and an eloquent exemplification of the cross-disciplinary appeal of Veblen’s genius’ —Giorgio Baruchello, ‘Nordicum-Mediterraneum’
‘[O]ne of the best sources available to the reader who wants to cope with modern Veblenian scholarship. There are nearly all of the recent achievements in it.’ —Marco Cavalieri, ‘History of Economic Ideas’
After his death Thorstein Veblen was hailed as ‘America’s Darwin and Marx’ and is normally portrayed as the perennial iconoclast. He severely criticised traditional economics and attempted to create an alternative approach based on a much more complex view of human beings. He is one of the most celebrated economists of our age and has been the inspiration for many books; the predatory version of capitalism we now again experience, the phenomenon of studying cultures of consumption and the darker sides of gilded ages can be traced back to Veblen.
A conference in Veblen’s ancestral Norway marked the 150th anniversary of his birth. The aim of the conference was to consolidate Veblen scholarship and evaluate his relevance for the problems of today. This collection offers the results of that endeavour; it is a milestone of Vebleniana which assesses all the most salient aspects of his life and influence. Many of its contributors also push into uncharted territory, examining the man and his work from new and necessary perspectives hitherto ignored by scholarship.
Erik S. Reinert is President of The Other Canon Foundation, Norway, and Professor of Technology and Development Strategies at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia.
Francesca Lidia Viano is a Graduate Research Associate at the Center for History and Economics at Harvard University.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements; List of Contributors; 1. Introduction – Erik S. Reinert and Francesca Lidia Viano; 2. Veblen’s Contexts: Valdres, Norway and Europe; Filiations of Economics; and Economics for an Age of Crises – Erik S. Reinert; PART ONE: NORWEGIAN ORIGINS AND PERSONAL LIFE: 3. Explaining Veblen by his Norwegian Background: A Sketch – Kåre Lunden; 4. Valdres to the Upper Midwest: The Norwegian Background of the Veblen Family and their Migration to the United States – Terje Mikael Hasle Joranger; 5. New Perspectives on Thorstein Veblen, the Norwegian – Knut Odner; 6. The Physical World of Thorstein Veblen: Washington Island and Other Intimate Spaces – Russell H. Bartley and Sylvia Erickson Bartley; PART TWO: AMERICAN EDUCATION: 7. Ithaca Transfer: Veblen and the Historical Profession – Francesca Lidia Viano; 8. Schooling for Heterodoxy: On the Foundations of Thorstein Veblen’s Institutional Economics – Charles Camic; PART THREE: VEBLEN’S POLITICS: 9. Thorstein Veblen and the Politics of Predatory Power – Sidney Plotkin; 10. Veblen, War and Peace – Stephen Edgell; 11. Veblen’s ‘Higher Learning’: The Scientist as Sisyphus in the Iron Cage of a University – Eyüp Özveren; PART FOUR: VEBLEN’S ECONOMICS: 12. Thorstein Veblen: The Father of Evolutionary and Institutional Economics – Geoffrey M. Hodgson; 13. Veblen’s Words Weighed – Paul Burkander; 14. The Great Crash of 2007 Viewed through the Perspective of Veblen’s ‘Theory of Business Enterprise’, Keynes’s Monetary Theory of Production and Minsky’s Financial Instability Hypothesis – L. Randall Wray; 15. Predation from Veblen until Now: Remarks to the Veblen Sesquicentennial Conference – James K. Galbraith; 16. Capitalising Expectations: Veblen on Consumption, Crises and the Utility of Waste – Sophus A. Reinert and Francesca Lidia Viano; 17. Thorstein Veblen: Still Misunderstood, but More Important Now than Ever – Robert H. Frank; Name Index; Subject Index