One of the first modern thinkers to address the relationship between morals and economics, Bernard Mandeville (1670–1733) is renowned for his claim that a prosperous society could be brought about only by self-interested, not virtuous, individuals. Born in 1670 in or near Rotterdam and trained in medicine at the University of Leiden, Mandeville emigrated to England in the last decade of the 17th century and lived until 1733. His thesis, that “private vices” generate “public benefits” first appeared in his poem, “The Grumbling Hive: or Knaves turn’d Honest,” published in 1705. The poem was reissued, in 1714, as The Fable of the Bees, and included an essay on the origin of morals and a series of additional remarks on the poem. With another edition of ...

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