Bernard Mandeville taught us that self-interest and the desire for material well- being, commonly stigmatized as vices, are in fact the incentives. Bernard de Mandeville, or Bernard Mandeville, as he chose to call himself in .. Bernard Mandeville, M.D. Author of the Fable of the Bees, of a Treatise of the. This masterpiece of eighteenth-century British satire sparked great social controversy by rejecting a positive view of human nature and arguing the necessity.

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What bernad is the original text of one of the best and smartest satires ever, written by the Dutch Englishman Bernard Mandeville. In short, his thesis about the true causes of social welfare, social progress, riches and benefits is that these are all based on the human vices: People work out of greed, are polite out of self-interest and hypocrisy, keep the law from cowardice – and so on.

The Fable of the Bees or Private Vices, Publick Benefits, Vol. 1 – Online Library of Liberty

You get his basic argument in the form of a – didactic – poem. This may need a moment or two of getting used to, but Mandevile was a great writer, and the poem is quite amusing. Mandeville also made a lot of remarks to his poem, in several editions, and if I can find one of these I will add it with my comments. The present edition of the poem of the Fable of the Bees as it is known has been on my site now since In the summer of I have uploaded my edition of Mandeville’s texts that he included in his editions of the Fable of the Bees.

Mandeville’s prose is as good or even better as his poetry, and in fact addresses many fundamental issues of morality and ethics the two are empatically not the same: My source for this text is the excellent Liberty Foundationwhere one can find many fine editions of many classical texts somehow concerned with human liberty in human society, and specifically these pages there concerning Mandeville and the Fable of the Bees.

That edition mwndeville very well done, and has some good introductions, befs textual notes, and numbers relating to the original pagination of the edition they present, that I have mostly skipped, removed or not included, because I am especially interested in Mandeville’s own text in a readable edition, rather than in a scholarly one.

Johnson and John Maynard Keynes seem to have really appreciated his wit, courage, and insight into human beings, and indeed Keynes devoted some four pages to Mandeville’s ideas in Keynes’ “The General Theory of Empoyment, Interest and Money”. At the time of writing, I have not yet added my notes to Mandeville’s prose, but I have added links to Mandeville’s prose remarks mandevolle passages in his poem.

Also, readers interested in Mandeville should note that there used to be a good edition of both the poem and the prose in Penguin Classics: Bernard Mandeville – The Fable of the Bees, edited with an introduction by Philipp Hartfirst printed inand with a second edition table This is a fine edition too, also with a good introduction by Mandeville, and with the same textual content as is on bernar site now since the end of Julybut it is not quite the same edition of the same texts as I use, though the differences will be mostly of importance to specialists in Mandeville.


But in any case, and although there are quite a few things I don’t quite agree with Mandeville, he seems to have been one of the few moralists who were willing to seriously consider the facts about the Yahoos the style themselves as Rational Animalsand are mostly halfly correct.

Bernard Mandeville (1670—1733)

Note on the text: The text is transcribed from the edition of The Grumbling Hive. These Insects lived like Men, and all Our Actions they perform’d in small: They did whatever’s done in Town, [15] And what belongs to Sword, or Gown: Which, since their Language is unknown, Must be call’d, as we do our own.

Some meagre look’d, and meanly clad Would mystically pray for Bread, Meaning by that an ample Store, [95] Yet lit’rally receiv’d no more; And, whilst these holy Drudges starv’d, Some lazy Ones, for which they serv’d, Indulg’d their Ease, with all the Graces Of Health and Plenty in their Faces. The Soldiers, that were forced to fight, If they survived, got Honour by’t ; Tho’ some, that shunn’d the bloody Fray, Had Limbs shot off, that ran away: Some valiant Gen’rals fought the Foe; [] Others took Bribes to let them go: Pensions were small, and they lived high, Yet boasted of their Honesty.

Calling, whene’er they strain’d their Right, The slipp’ry Trick a Perquisite; [] And, when Folks understood their Cant, They chang’d that for Emolument; Unwilling to be short, or plain, In any thing concerning Gain: For there was not a Bee, but would [] Get more, I won’t say, than he should; But than he dared to let them know, That pay’d for’t; as your Gamesters do, That, tho’ at fair Play, ne’er will own Before the Losers what they’ve won. But who can all their Frauds repeat! And ever since The worst of all the Multitude Did something for the common Good.

How vain is Mortals Happiness!

But, Oh ye Gods! The Bar was silent from amndeville Day; [] For now the willing Debtors pay, Even what’s by Creditors forgot; Who quitted them, who had it not. Those, that were in the Wrong, stood mute, And dropt the patch’d vexatious Suit.

Justice hang’d some, set others free; [] Tue, after Goal-delivery, Her Presence be’ng no more requier’d, With all her Train, and Pomp retir’d. Himself, employ’d in holy Cares; Resign’d to others State Affairs: That a poor Bee should Ten times [illeg. All Places; managed first by Three, [] Who watch’d each other’s Knavery, And teh for a Fellow-feeling, Promoted, one anothers Stealing, Are happily supply’d by one; By which some Thousands more are gone.

No Honour now could be content, To live, and owe for what was spent. Now mind the glorious Hive, and see, How Honesty and Trade agree: The Shew is gone, it thins apace; [] And looks with quite another Face, For ’twas not only that they went, By whom vast Sums were Yearly betnard But Multitudes, that lived on them, Were daily forc’d to do the same.


Those, that remain’d, grown temp’rate, strive, [] So how to spend; but how to live; And, when they paid berjard Tavern Score, Resolv’d to enter it no more: The slight and fickle Age is past; And Cloaths, as wel as Fashions last. Weavers that ioyn’d rich Silk with [illeg.

So few in the vast Hive remain; Bernare Hundredth part they can’t maintain Against th’Insults of numerous Foes; Whom yet they valiantly oppose; Till some well-fenced Retreat is found; [] And here they die, or stand their Ground, No Hireling in their Armies known; But bravely fighting for their own; Their Courage and Integrity At last were crown’d with Victory.

Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees – Poem

Fools only strive To make a Great an honest Hive. Fraud, Luxury, and Pride must live; [] We [illeg. Hunger’s a dreadful Plague no doubt, Yet who digests or thrives without? Do we not owe the Growth of Wine To the dry, crooked, yhe Vine? So Vice mandeviloe beneficial found, [] When it’s by Justice [illeg.

I do have an M. I also wrote some satires on this in the ies, that still are popular and admired, which are in Dutch.

Also, I have been removed myself three times from the University of Amsterdam, as the Board of its Directors wrote. And it was inafter my third removal from the University of Amsterdam, and the first and only student removed from a Dutch university because of his opinions since – I can write effective satire, but the Dutch are mostly a race of bores and boors, alas – and just before taking my M.

Readers who are interested in realities, not delusions, fabe human psychology on average and human motivation on average should consult modern writers like OrwellGoffmanMilgram and Zinovievwho belong to the few willing and able to face the facts about human nature, on average, and might be interested in checking out my ” A fundamental problem in ethics and morals “, that addresses these facts and that problem.

Home – Philosophy – Mandeville – Fable of the Bees. Also, I have been removed myself three times amndeville the University of Amsterdam, as the Board of bes Directors wrote “because of your outspoken ideas” “in spite of your illness, which we take very seriously” the last addition because – like my psychological brothers and sisters, who treat physically ill people for money as if they are malingerers and frauds – the gentlemen were sadists.