Bernard Mandeville

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mandeville, Bernard


Born in 1670, in Dordrecht, Hol-land; died Jan. 21, 1733, in London. English author.

Of French descent, Mandeville received a medical education in Leiden. In 1705 he published the satire The Grumbling Hive, or Knaves Turn ‘d Honest. This was reprinted in 1714 and 1723 under the title The Fable of the Bees, or Private Vices, Publick Benefits (Russian translation, 1924). The life of a beehive was an allegory for bourgeois society, with its competition, corruption, and social oppression. Mandeville “shows that in modern society vices are necessary and useful. This was scarcely an apology for modern society” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2, p. 146). Mandeville led the way in English social thought toward a sober and ironic critique of the bourgeois social structure.


Mandeville’s Travels. London, 1968.
The Fable of the Bees. London, 1970.
In Russian translation:
Deborin, A. Kniga dlia chteniia po istorii filosofii, vol. 1. Moscow. 1924.


Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, book 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945. Pages 296-301.
Kaye, F. B. “The Influence of Bernard Mandeville.” Studies in the Literature of the Augustan Age. New York, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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"Bernard Mandeville's The Virgin Unmask'd." In New Explorations in the Art and Thought of Dr.
Mestre em Direito e Gestao--Universidade Catolica Portuguesa (Porto, Portugal); Bernard Mandeville y las paradojas de um fabulador satirico, do Prof.
The physician and philosopher Bernard Mandeville (1660-1733) was undoubtedly one of the most controversial writers of the eighteenth century.
The book pays particular attention to the roots of Smith's moral philosophy found in the works of Thomas Hobbes, the Earl of Shaftesbury, Bernard Mandeville, and David Hume.
Hilton, Phillip, Bitter Honey: Recuperating the Medical and Scientific Context of Bernard Mandeville, Bern, Peter Lang, 2010; paperback; pp.
(30) Bernard Mandeville took the argument one step further (if not chronologically) by arguing that private vices (rather than interests) could lead to public benefits.
In the standard view, a set of canonical early texts assumes center stage: Bernard Mandeville's Fable of the Bees [1714], Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations [1776], Jean-Francois Melon's Essai politique sur le commerce [1734], and Francois Quesnay's Tableau economique [1758], leading inexorably to David Ricardo's famous theory of comparative advantage [1817].
This was a reply to Bernard Mandeville's deeply cynical Fable of the Bees, which had argued that economic growth and indeed the entire progress of civilization could be explained in terms of our love of praise and our insatiable taste for luxury.
The most famous presentation of this doctrine is Bernard Mandeville's Fable of the Bees, in which he sustains that "a society which was endowed with all the 'virtues' would be a static and stagnant society.
And this worldly pride, so often condemned by clerics and other moralists, came to be seen by early political economists, including Bernard Mandeville and Adam Smith, as a positive force for the community's prosperity.
In a later chapter, Cook traces the subsequent career of such ideas about the passions, revealing that the London-based author of the highly influential Fable of the Bees: Or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits (frequently used in the eighteenth century to justify commerce), Bernard Mandeville, was himself Dutch in origin and had drawn considerably in this work on the materialist ideas he himself had encountered while studying in Leiden.