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The Man Who Saw Trump Coming A Century Ago

The Man Who Saw Trump Coming A Century Ago

Ann Jones

Distracted daily by the bloviating POTUS? Here, then, is a small suggestion. Focus your mind for a moment on one simple (yet deeply complex) truth: we are living in a Veblen Moment.


A nice review and commentary by the author, though I’ll admit the headline brought to mind another thinker who anticipated Chump’s ascension:

H.L. Mencken sez:
“As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”


Louis Brandeis was another progressive operative of that era who warned us a century ago that: “we can have democracy or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both”.

Trump is not the problem, just the most recent symptom of THE big problem…money in politics, that keeps getting worse as more wealth gets concentrated in fewer hands.


That was my first thought too. Both Mencken and Veblen desperately need to be rediscovered, and soon.


very powerful story! had never heard of Veblen before so, his views were/are quite correct. the french came up with a solution for these types of predators in the late 1700’s, would be very useful today in usa, and other countries (probably most countries). just thinking out loud!


Columbia Law has posted a PDF of Theory of the Leisure Class
Theory of Business Enterprise

Then there is The Gutenberg Galaxy, which IMHO ought to be read from the end, backward to the beginning. The reason being that Marshall McCluhan started at the beginning and brought the consequences into the present of his day.

All of these challenge us to consider the placement of subject against ground, the obfuscation of subject BY the ground, and of course, the convenient (as we see currently) ‘suspended judgment’ by one such as drumph. In short, we’re being ‘played’ eight ways from Sunday and it is no accident that by so doing many are shaken away from full engagement with their communities, when the opposite is needed.


May I simply quote?

. . . those robber barons, admired for their “prowess” by the very working-class guys they preyed upon.

They didn’t want to overthrow the leisure class. They wanted to climb up into it.

Change the past tense verbs to the present tense.


And lack of self control with the said money.

The working class who want to climb in- I don’t get that. Why not have a life of meaning instead of material goods? Pathetic.

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I wrote a college paper on Veblen. Fun fact: He graded all the students who took his courses with a C.


I think it reflects the triumph of capitalist propaganda–we’ve been sold the idea that we live in a meritocracy, so if we somehow get rich too, it proves our merit. (If we don’t get rich, however, it proves we’re individually at fault, not the system.)

“Socialism never took root in the US, because its workers see themselves, not as an exploited proletariat, but rather as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
–Ronald Wright


I knew it! I knew I had a B!

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Come to think of it, I got a C on that paper. Pretty sure that raised my GPA.


Don’t underestimate the power of Madison Avenue, especially now in the era of Big Data. For a century now, every discovery in psychology and psychiatry has been bent toward sculpting complacent consumers and misinformed, compliant sheeple instead of citizens. An internet’s-worth of opiates for the masses keeps us placid and obedient.


Thank you for posting the links. I’ll begin reading. I do like goat cheese. :wink:

Have you heard of the Oswald Veblen Award and who is one of the more prominent recipients?

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I saw your comment above.

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You just can’t friggin’ let it be, can you? I flagged your post.
You’re still an anti-Semite. I notice you didn’t post any of the good…or great things…Simons has contributed to the world. You deliberately left an innuendo hanging.

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Ann Jones is a vibrant, zealous- for -justice journalist who has impressed me so much over the past years. Her stories from the war-ravaged middle east, with photos, her work on documenting the terrible psychic burden that our soldiers return with from these unnecessary attacks and occupation of these countries, her understanding of families torn apart by domestic abuse. Also her description of the Nordic citizens’ governments and societies that actually care for the common good (in sad comparison to our own). She has done an outstanding job as a journalist; and humane being. Now I am going to have to read Veblen…


Us??? Don’t do them- not interested. Plus we do not HAVE to be compliant- one of the reasons I am not a boob tube fan.