Thorstein Veblen - Wealth Quotes
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There are all degrees of this helplessness that characterizes the common lot. So much so that certain classes, professions, and occupations — such as the clergy, the military, the courts, police, and legal profession — are perhaps to be classed as belonging primarily with the vested interests, although they can scarcely be counted as vested interests in their own right, but rather as outlying and subsidiary vested interests whose tenure is conditioned on their serving the purposes of those principal and self-directing vested interests whose tenure rests immediately on large holdings of invested wealth. Read more at location 2158
Invested wealth in large holdings controls the country's industrial system, directly by ownership of the plant, as in the mechanical industries, or indirectly through the market, as in farming. So that the population of these civilized countries now falls into two main classes: those who own wealth invested in large holdings and who thereby control the conditions of life for the rest; and those who do not own wealth in sufficiently large holdings, and whose conditions of life are therefore controlled by these others. It is a division, not between those who have something and those who have nothing — as many socialists would be inclined to describe it — but between those who own wealth enough to make it count, and those who do not.
This free income which the community allows its kept classes in the way of returns on these vested rights and intangible assets is the price which the community is paying to the owners of this imponderable wealth for material damage greatly exceeding that amount. But it should be kept in mind and should be duly credited to the good intentions of these businesslike managers, that the ulterior object sought by all this management is not the 100 per cent of mischief to the community but only the 10 per cent of private gain for themselves and their clients.