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Conference Proceeding

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John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006), C. Wright Mills (1916-1962), William M. Dugger, Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929), Deception -- Philosophy, Evolutionary economics


With this inquiry we respond to William Dugger‘s assertion that ―[s]ubreption is one of the least studied social phenomena of the twentieth century.‖ Our research seeks to fill a gap in the literature by clarifying subreption, and its origins in Philosophy to its importance in social science, and, especially, Institutional Inquiry. We conjecture that Thorstein Veblen borrows form Immanuel Kant‘s understanding of Erschleichung. In this respect, Veblen‘s understanding and use of subreption serves as conduit between its use in Roman law, through Kant‘s understanding, and on to what Veblen later introduces as an approach creatively relied upon by three other, Institutional thinkers carrying on Veblen‘s tradition: namely, C. Wright Mills, John Kenneth Galbraith, and William Dugger. We advance the argument that even though subreption remains neglected in social science, it nevertheless defines a novel approach, proving central to Classical Institutional Inquiry, particularly when considering an evolving social and economic reality.


Presented at the 24th Annual European Association for Evolutionary Political Economy (EAEPE) Conference 18-21 October 2012; CRACOW, POLAND (2012)

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