Thorstein Veblen
Thorstein Bunde Veblen, born Torsten Bunde Veblen (July 30, 1857 – August 3, 1929) was an American economist and sociologist, and a leader of the so-called institutional economics
Institutional economics
Institutional economics focuses on understanding the role of the evolutionary process and the role of institutions in shaping economic behaviour. Its original focus lay in Thorstein Veblen's instinct-oriented dichotomy between technology on the one side and the "ceremonial" sphere of society on the...

 movement. Besides his technical work he was a popular and witty critic of capitalism, as shown by his best known book The Theory of the Leisure Class
The Theory of the Leisure Class
The Theory of the Leisure Class: An Economic Study of Institutions is a book, first published in 1899, by the Norwegian-American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen while he was a professor at the University of Chicago....


Veblen is famous in the history of economic thought
History of economic thought
The history of economic thought deals with different thinkers and theories in the subject that became political economy and economics from the ancient world to the present day...

 for combining a Darwinian evolutionary perspective with his new institutionalist approach to economic analysis.

The superior gratification derived from the use and contemplation of costly and supposedly beautiful products is, commonly, in great measure a gratification of our sense of costliness masquerading under the name of beauty.

The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), p. 71.

The walking stick serves the purpose of an advertisement that the bearer's hands are employed otherwise than in useful effort, and it therefore has utility as an evidence of leisure.

The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), p. 148.