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Mandeville, Bernard (1670–1733)

Born in the environs of Rotterdam in 1670, Bernard Mandeville obtained a medical degree from the University of Leiden in 1691. After settling in London, he began working as a physician treating nervous disorders while pursuing a modest literary career. In 1723, however, following several attempts to censor his chef d'oeuvre (masterpiece), The Fable of the Bees; Or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits, Mandeville unexpectedly became early eighteenth-century London's most infamous observer of changing societal and economic realities. The Fable, which insists that the motive force driving the increasingly liberal market economy was self-interest rather than a benevolent civic humanism, generated a scandal that lasted throughout the eighteenth century, eliciting replies from some of the most significant Enlightenment figures, including Francis Hutcheson, Bishop Berkeley, David Hume, ...

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