Does our background influence how we look at others?

In the “Theory of the Leisure Class” by Thorstein Veblen, he critiques the upper class for their behaviors regarding their dress and speech. He observes that their odd behavior stems from capitalism and the effect is has on their need to consume goods that are seemingly un necessary. He starts off by critiquing the way they dress and the emphasis they place on the value of clothing and its ability to show ones status. His tone remains critical throughout the entire reading, stating that he sees it as wasteful to place such an emphasis on clothing for status rather than for the obvious use of clothing. He then goes on to critique the English they speak. According to Veblen, the upper class spoke in classic English, as opposed to the regular English that everyone else spoke.

Veblen is very critical of the upper class, perhaps this comes from his back ground, being raised by an immigrant family and not knowing wealth as many people he later observes do. Do you think that where we come from, our backgrounds, influence the way we look at others/society? Do you think it is fair to have these biased views about others? Perhaps they were born into a family of wealth, but does that give us the right to judge them?

One thought on “Does our background influence how we look at others?

  1. Veblen seems to have an extreme disdain for the consumerism of the the leisure class. He believes them to be wasteful. From the way they sacrifice practicality for wealth in the way they dress to the elongated speech they insist on continuing to speak. I would agree that Veblen’s background does influence his view on the upper class. He does not seem able to put himself in their shoes. I would make the statement that if Veblen was born into the leisure class he would be partaking in the exact thing that he is writing about. Veblen puts a lot of blame into the leisure class for their frivolous activities, but I do not think it is their fault. I think he should direct his blame more towards the economic policies that allow the leisure class to be idle.

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