The Theory of Business Enterprise

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C. Scribner's Sons, 1915 - Business - 400 pages
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User Review  - PointedPundit - LibraryThing

I recently reread Thorstein Veblen’s The Theory of Business Enterprise. To my amazement, the book is more relevant today than when I first read during my college days Published in 1904, the book ... Read full review

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Page 52 - But where the monopoly is less strict, where there are competitors, there the competition that has to be met is one of the factors to be taken account of in determining what the traffic will bear; competition may even become the most serious factor in the case if the enterprise in question has little or none of the character of a monopoly. But it is very doubtful if there are any successful business ventures within the range of the modern industries from which the monopoly element is wholly absent.
Page 284 - ... a naive, unquestioning persuasion abroad among the body of the people to the effect that, in some occult way, the material interests of the populace coincide with the pecuniary interests of those business men who live within the scope of the same set of governmental contrivances.
Page 389 - Habituation to a warlike, predatory scheme of life is the strongest disciplinary factor that can be brought to counteract the vulgarization of modern life wrought by peaceful industry and the machine process, and to rehabilitate the decaying sense of status and differential dignity. Warfare, with the stress on subordination and mastery and the insistence on gradations of dignity and honor incident to a military organization, has always proved an effective school in barbarian methods of thought. In...
Page 321 - ... daily life, it falls with the most direct, intimate, and unmitigated impact upon the skilled mechanical classes, for these have no respite from its mastery, whether they are at work or at play. The ubiquitous presence of the machine, with its spiritual concomitant — workday ideals and scepticism of what is only conventionally valid — is the unequivocal mark of the western culture of today as contrasted with the culture of other times and places. It pervades all classes and strata in a varying...
Page 356 - ... is threatened. There is a loosening of the bonds, a weakening of conviction as to the full truth and beauty of the received domestic institutions, without much of a consensus as to what is to be done about it, if anything. In this, as at other junctures of a similar...
Page 308 - ... superiors. Within the range of this machine-guided work, and within the range of modern life so far as it is guided by the machine process, the course of things is given mechanically, impersonally, and the resultant discipline is a discipline in the handling of impersonal facts for mechanical effect. It inculcates thinking in terms of opaque, impersonal cause and effect, to the neglect of those norms of validity that rest on usage and on the conventional standards handed down by usage.
Page 25 - The adjustments of industry take place through the mediation of pecuniary transactions, and these transactions take place at the hands of the business men and are carried on by them for business ends, not for industrial ends in the narrower meaning of the phrase. The economic welfare of the community at large is best served by a facile and uninterrupted interplay of the various processes which make up the industrial system at large; but the pecuniary interests of the business men in whose hands lies...
Page 304 - The machine process pervades the modern life and dominates it in a mechanical sense. Its dominance is seen in the enforcement of precise mechanical measurements and adjustment and the reduction of all manner of things, purposes and acts, necessities, conveniences, and amenities of life, to standard units.
Page 14 - By virtue of this concatenation of processes the modern industrial system at large bears the character of a comprehensive, balanced mechanical process.
Page 24 - And such, on the other hand, is also the case when some favorable condition abruptly supervenes in a given industry; as, eg, when a sudden demand for war stores starts a wave of prosperity by force of a large and lucrative demand for the products of certain industries, and these in turn draw on their neighbors in the sequence, and so transmit a wave of business activity. The keeping of the industrial balance, therefore, and adjusting the several industrial processes to one another's work and needs,...

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