Veblen on business in America

Veblen does not adopt Adam Smith’s notion that the pursuit of self-interest leads naturally to the expansion of the common good, and that the hidden hand guides this economy towards optimal outcomes and uses of available resources:

The outcome of this management of industrial affairs through pecuniary transactions, therefore, has been to dissociate the interests of those men who exercise the discretion from the interests of the community…. Broadly, this class of business men, in so far as they have no ulterior strategic ends to serve, have an interest in making the disturbances of the system large and frequent, since it is in the conjunctures of change that their gain emerges…. It is, as a business proposition, a matter of indifference to the man of large affairs whether the disturbances which his transactions set up in the industrial system help or hinder the system at large.

Read the whole thing.

Axé.

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2 Comments

Filed under ALFS presentation, Bibliography

2 responses to “Veblen on business in America

  1. It’s pretty rare for any people, whether of high or low degree, to see much beyond their perceived self interest.

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