"The Theory of the Leisure Class"
Economist and social critic Thorstein Veblen publishes his sociological treatise revealing the most admired traits of propertied elites: "ferocity, self-seeking, clannishness and disingenuousness - a free resort to force and fraud."
Such desirable attributes permit the wealthy to live solely to provoke envy in others. Rich "ladies" eagerly embrace a decorative standard of helpless femininity. Slinking human trophies of money to burn, these useless appendages of male egotism proudly lounge about in fur-draped passivity - perfumed, painted, powdered, and pampered. Who doesn't want one?
"Their" men dedicate themselves to pointless passions like fox-hunting and coin-collecting, diversions likewise bespeaking riches vast enough to be openly wasted. A battalion of doting servants advertises the "master's" unique freedom to limitlessly consume without doing anything useful.
The sacred duty of the Leisure Class, instructs Veblen, is to retard social evolution and preserve the obsolete social forms that confer invidious distinction. For those of a practical turn of mind, he offers this insight into getting ahead under capitalism: "Freedom from scruple, from sympathy, honesty and regard for life, may within fairly wide limits be said to further the success of the individual in pecuniary culture."
Thorstein Veblen, The Theory of the Leisure Class, (Viking, 1967), Chapters 3 and 4