The Instinct of Workmanship and the State of the Industrial Arts

Cosimo, Inc., 2006 - 355 pages
One of the great thinkers of the early 20th century, American economist and sociologist THORSTEIN BUNDE VEBLEN (1857-1929) is best remembered for coining the phrase "conspicuous consumption." This 1914 volume is considered by some Veblen's most important work, showcasing the underpinnings of his theories and speculations. Here, Veblen explores... . the battle between instinct and habit . how instinct shaped primitive technologies . how modern industrial arts reflect a collective instinct . the technology of the "predatory culture" . the differences between "peaceable ownership" and the "competitive system" . and more. ALSO FROM COSIMO: Veblen's The Vested Interests and the Common Man, The Theory of Business Enterprise, Imperial Germany and the Industrial Revolution, An Inquiry into the Nature of Peace and the Terms of Its Perpetuation, and The Engineers and the Price System

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Page 25 - But history records more frequent and more spectacular instances of the triumph of imbecile institutions over life and culture than of peoples who have by force of instinctive insight saved themselves alive out of a desperately precarious institutional situation, such, for instance, as now faces the peoples of Christendom.
Page 31 - So that this instinct may in some sense be said to be auxiliary to all the rest, to be concerned with the ways and means of life rather than with any one given ulterior end. It has essentially to do with proximate rather than ulterior ends. Yet workmanship is none the less an object of attention and sentiment in its own right.
Page 27 - In making use of the expression, "instinct of workmanship" or "sense of workmanship," it is not here intended to assume or to argue that the proclivity so designated is in the psychological respect a simple or irreducible element; still less, of course, is there any intention to allege that it is to be traced back in the physiological respect to some one isolable tropismatic sensibility or some single enzymotic or visceral stimulus. All that is matter for the attention of those whom it may concern....
Page 24 - In the course of cultural growth most of those civilizations or peoples that have had a long history have from time to time been brought up against an imperative call to revise their scheme of institutions in the light of their native instincts, on pain of collapse or decay; and they have chosen variously, and for the most part blindly to live or not to live, according as their instinctive bias has driven them. In the cases where it has happened that those instincts which make directly for the material...

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