Thorstein Veblen on the Media, 1915

Via Dan Gillmor in Boing Boing, via Joe Costello: Thorstein Veblen, Prescient on Today’s Media.

Systematic insincerity on the part of the ostensible purveyors of information and leaders of opinion may be deplored by persons who stickle for truth and pin their hopes of social salvation on the spread of accurate information.

As a former worker in the editorial department of a magazine publisher, I think Veblen was pretty accurate in his analysis of the origins and outline of the problem. At least, his description of “the current periodical press” matched up pretty closely with my own experience.

6 Responses to “Thorstein Veblen on the Media, 1915”

  1. J.A.Y.S.O.N. Says:

    Hasn’t this always been the case? I mean 90 years ago you had the Hurst papers, etc. Somehow because of Woodward and Bernstein and a general hazy recollection of a past that’s really a reflection of the unwarranted trust in institutions, we think we didn’t used to get bullshitted about everything?

  2. knarlyknight Says:

    I’m not going to argue with Veblen. Besides, he picks good words for his long sentences. Some of them old fashioned dudes sure knew how to put ink to parchment.

    Jayson, don’t you wonder why people are not smarter by now?

  3. shcb Says:

    While I find this an intriguing, what I couldn’t help but notice was that his theories seemed to be extensions of Adam Smith in as much as Smith was for the most part just observing how people and markets work if left alone. He extended that to include this new branch of science called evolution, but the evolution of business has always been there. Think of the revolution he was lining through, the use of steam over sail and gas powered autos over horses, you don’t think those two things brought an evolution to the way business was done?

    Knarly, if you want to read someone string big words together you should read everything William F Buckley wrote.

  4. knarlyknight Says:

    shcb- no I do not like big words for tehir own sake, so thanks for the warning about Buckley.

    Rather, I meant exactly what I said, and I even tried to put it at a grade two level so that even you would understand: “he picks good words”

    What that meant is that his prose was incredibly precise. I might now add that even though his sentences were long the total effect was a refreshing efficiency – one need not read a lot of his words, but one did need to thiink about each word carefully to grasp the full meaning of what he was conveying.

    By the way, good thoughts about evolution / business. The logic that follows from that is that now that technological change is occuring at an exponentially faster rate now business has to evolve even faster. The old ways of supporting business in their wreaking havoc on the environment can be ushered out and the green revolutino may begin.

  5. shcb Says:

    only if those technilogical advances allow the energy business to evolve. it it does business will evolve

  6. knarlyknight Says:

    Yes, and please understand that well researched opinions are that evolution is by far the less attractive alternative:

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