He was dealing with the current apologies for sports, many of which have a “predatory” origin.

20 Jun

This phrase is borrowed from Mr Thorstein Veblen’s remarkable book, The Theory of the Leisure Class An Economic Study in the Evolution of Institutions New York 1899 … It is due to its author that the leading passage in which it occurs should be quoted somewhat fully. He was dealing with the current apologies for sports, many of which have a “predatory” origin and had already said: ” In the most general economic terms, these apologies are an effort to show that despite the logic of the thing, sports do in fact further what may broadly be called workmanship.” Man is possessed of a taste for effective work and a distaste for futile effort…

The ulterior norm to which appeal is taken is the instinct of workmanship, which is an instinct more fundamental, of more ancient prescription, than the propensity to predatory emulation. The latter is but a special development of the instinct of of workmanship, a variant relatively late and ephemeral in spite of its great absolute antiquity. The emulative predatory impulse-or the instinct of sportsmanship, as it might well be called–is essentially unstable in comparison with the primordial instinct of workmanship out of which it has been developed and differentiated.

Lester F. Ward, Applied Sociology, A Treatise on the Conscious Improvement of Society by Society (Ginn & Company Boston U.S.A. © 1906)



Ibid p. 243

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