The Theory of Business Enterprise

Front Cover
C.Scribner's sons, 1904 - 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

Contents

I
1
III
5
IV
20
V
66
VI
92
VII
133
VIII
177
IX
268
XI
302
XII
374

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Page 54 - Where a given enterprise has a strict monopoly of the supply of a given article or of a given class of services this principle applies in the unqualified form in which it has been understood among those who discuss railway charges. 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...
Page 286 - ... 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 310 - ... short duration, strict as its discipline may be. and the body of inherited traits and traditions is too comprehensive and consistent to admit of anything more than a remote approach to such a consummation. The machine process compels a more or less unremitting attention to phenomena of an impersonal character and to sequences and correlations not dependent for their force upon human predilection nor created by habit and custom. The machine throws out anthropomorphic habits of thought. It compels...
Page 310 - 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 56 - The law of mind, as it operates in society as an aid to competition and in the interest of the individual, is essentially immoral. It rests primarily on the principle of deception. It is an extension to other human beings of the method applied to the animal world by which the latter was subjected to man. This method was that of the ambush and the snare. Its ruling principle was cunning. Its object was to deceive, circumvent, ensnare, and capture. Low animal cunning was succeeded by more refined kinds...
Page 391 - Business interests urge an aggressive national policy and business men direct it. Such a policy is warlike as well as patriotic. The direct cultural value of a warlike business policy is unequivocal. It makes for a conservative animus on the part of the populace.
Page 53 - Of these two divergent effects resulting from close personal relations between producer and consumer the former seems on the whole to have been of preponderant consequence. Under the system of handicraft and neighborhood industry, the adage that " Honesty is the best policy " seems on the whole to have been accepted and to have been true. This adage has come down from the days before the machine's re'gime and before modern business enterprise. Under modern circumstances, where industry is carried...
Page 27 - 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 65 - ... industrial community may allow itself in this respect. While it is in the nature of things unavoidable that the management of industry by modern business methods should involve a large misdirection of effort and a very large waste of goods and services, it is also true that the aims and ideals to which this manner of economic life gives effect act forcibly to offset all this incidental futility. These pecuniary aims and ideals have a very great effect, for instance, in making men work hard and...
Page 306 - 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.

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