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Thorstein B. Veblen’s Philosophy of Technology and Modern Capitalism

  • Tuna Baskoy
Chapter
Part of the Philosophy of Engineering and Technology book series (POET, volume 31)

Abstract

Thorstein Bunde Veblen, known as an American institutional economist and social critic (1857–1929), obtained his Ph.D. degree in philosophy from Yale University in 1884 and critically examined the development of economic institutions and rising internal tensions in modern Western societies throughout his life. In his analysis, modern technology plays a critical role and there is some acknowledgment of the originality of his views. Yet, their analysis is short, sporadic, and anecdotal. With the purpose of filling this void in the extant literature, this study seeks answer to the following questions: Does Veblen offer a philosophy of technology? It is maintained here that Veblen not only elaborates on the essence and properties of the modern technology, but also discusses how it interacts with its broader social economic and political environment. After reviewing the extant literature on Veblen’s account of technology, the essay outlines his approach to technology, which is followed by the reverberations of technology for industrial structure, business enterprise, competition between them, and the state in his writings. The last section discusses the key findings and summarizes them as a way of conclusion.

Keywords

Thorstein Veblen Technology Philosophy Capitalism Politics 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Politics and Public AdministrationRyerson UniversityTorontoCanada

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