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Mandeville, Bernard (1670–1733)

Bernard Mandeville, a Dutch physician who settled in London shortly after earning his degree in medicine at the University of Leyden, is best known as the controversial author of The Fable of the Bees: or, Private Vices, Publiek Benefits (6th ed., 1729). This work exhibits a number of themes, such as the role of self-interest in generating a prosperous spontaneous order, that would play a crucial role in later libertarian thought.

Mandeville had good reason to characterize The Fable of the Bees as “a rhapsody void of order or method.” Written over a period of 24 years, it began as a brief poem, “The Grumbling Hive: or, Knaves Turn'd Honest” (1705). In later years (beginning in 1714), Mandeville appended a number of essays, remarks, and ...

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