A physician with a particular interest in psychological disorders and satirist, Mandeville published versions of his notorious Fable of the Bees from 1714 to 1732. Each was a defence and elaboration of his short satirical poem The Angry Hive, 1705. The version of the Fable of 1723 and 1732 are the fullest defences of his early paradox that social benefit is the unintended consequence of personal vice. It is an argument that is generally held to lie behind Adam Smith's doctrine of the 'hidden hand' of economic development.
If you think 18th century economic philosophy is by definition dry and boring, check out Bernard Mandeville's 1714 poem "The Fable of the Bees." It espouses the benefits of selfishness as a way of increasing economic prosperity -- a common enough idea today, but one that was so scandalous at the time of its publication that Mandeville was convicted by a grand jury and widely denounced by the most prominent thinkers of the day in blistering terms. This volume contains the text of the poem and some of Mandeville's commentary on its key ideas.
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