Thorstein Bunde Veblen (1857–1929), a Norwegian-American economist and sociologist, became famous as a witty critic of capitalism.
Veblen is known for the idea of "conspicuous consumption". People engage in conspicuous consumption, along with "conspicuous leisure", to demonstrate wealth or to mark social status - Veblen explains the concept in his best-known book, The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899). Historians of economic thought regard Veblen as the leader of the institutional economics movement. Contemporary economists still call Veblen's distinction between "institutions" and "technology" the Veblenian dichotomy.
As a leading intellectual of the Progressive Era in the United States of America, Veblen attacked production for profit. His emphasis on conspicuous consumption greatly influenced the socialist thinkers who engaged in non-Marxist critiques of capitalism and of technological determinism.