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The Instinct of Workmanship and the Irksomeness of Labor

By Veblen, Thorstein

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Book Id: WPLBN0000626911
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 24.32 KB
Reproduction Date: 2005
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Title: The Instinct of Workmanship and the Irksomeness of Labor  
Author: Veblen, Thorstein
Language: English
Subject: Literature, Literature & thought, Writing.
Collections: Blackmask Online Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: Blackmask Online


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Veblen, T. B. (n.d.). The Instinct of Workmanship and the Irksomeness of Labor. Retrieved from

Excerpt: It is one of the commonplaces of the received economic theory that work is irksome. Many a discussion proceeds on this axiom that, so far as regards economic matters, men desire above all things to get the goods produced by labor and to avoid the labor by which the goods are produced. In a general way the common?sense opinion is well in accord with current theory on this head. According to the common?sense?ideal, the economic beatitude lies in an unrestrained consumption of goods, without work; whereas the perfect economic affliction is unremunerated labor. Man instinctively revolts at effort that goes to supply the means of life. No one will accept the proposition when stated in this bald fashion, but even as it stands it is scarcely an overstatement of what is implied in the writings of eminent economists. If such an aversion to useful effort is an integral part of human nature, then the trail of the Edenic serpent should be plain to all men, for this is a unique distinction of the human species. A consistent aversion to whatever activity goes to maintain the life of the species is assuredly found in no other species of animal. Under the selective process through which species are held to have emerged and gained their stability there is no chance for the survival of a species gifted with such an aversion to the furtherance of its own life process. If man alone is an exception from the selective norm, then the alien propensity in question must have been intruded into his make?up by some malevolent deus ex machina.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents: The Instinct of Workmanship and the Irksomeness of Labor, 1 -- Thorstein Veblen, 1


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