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Century of the Leisured Masses – Entertainment and the Transformation of Twentieth-Century America - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Century of the Leisured Masses: Entertainment and the Transformation of Twentieth-Century America

David George Surdam


At the end of the nineteenth century, economist Thorstein Veblen wrote The Theory of the Leisure Class. American workers and farmers toiled long hours and often for wages that just exceeded subsistence, while the wealthiest Americans enjoyed conspicuous consumption and leisure. A century later, the economic conditions in America had changed beyond recognition. Improvements in agricultural productivity led to better nutrition and triggered improved productivity and living standards throughout the economy. American workers chose to take the benefits accruing from economic growth in the form of h ... More

Keywords: leisure, living standards, economic growth, working conditions, conspicuous consumption, productivity

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780190211561
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190211561.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

David George Surdam, author
University of Northern Iowa, Associate Professor of Economics