I never expected to write "Thorstein Veblen reminds me of Robin Hanson," but upon rereading Theory of the Leisure Class he does. Everything is reduced to evolutionary biology. Signaling and status-seeking are at the forefront of virtually every explanation. Industrial habits spring from man’s biological nature, transplanted into a new and strange environment. Had I reread this ten years (I first read it as a teen, and not since, then I hated it) ago, it would have been a revelation. Now it sounds like a typical lunch discussion with the guys, with Spence, Hayek, and Geoffrey Miller sprinkled in.
Veblen, however, is a blowhard as a writer and Robin is not.
I tried two other Veblen books and found them unreadable. The guy deserves much more credit than he gets, especially from conservatives and libertarians, but read the evolutionary biologists first.
#20 in a series of 50.