On the top economic levels, the pressure toward innovation
not infrequently erases the distinction between business-like strivings
this side of the mores and sharp practices beyond the mores. As Veblen
observed, “It is not easy in any given case—indeed it is at times impossible
until the courts have spoken—to say whether it is an instance of praiseworthy
salesmanship or a penitentiary offense. The history of great American fortunes
is threaded with strains toward institutionally dubious innovation as is
attested by many tributes to the Robber Barons (1968, p. 195).