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Bernard de Mandeville, Adam Smith and virtuous knaves of our times

  • Robert Holman

This is the reaction on the article of Václav Klusoň "Come-Backs of Dr. Bernard Mandeville: Virtuous Knaves in Economic Transformation". I put in contrast economic thinking of B. Mandeville and A. Smith and argue that both Smith's social and moral philosophy and his economic thought is more relevant for our present time. Smith's system of natural liberty - free trade and free enterprise - brings the invisible hand of the markets to work and transform self-interests of individuals into social benefits. I doubt that knaves were becoming virtuous in the process of transformation and privatization. Rather it is the other way around: virtuous men are becoming knaves in our present social, political and economic system of excessive taxation and regulations. The state is so much involved in bureaucratic, regulative and redistributive activities that it fails to function as the guardian of law and order.

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Article provided by University of Economics, Prague in its journal Politická ekonomie.

Volume (Year): 2004 (2004)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 657-662

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Handle: RePEc:prg:jnlpol:v:2004:y:2004:i:5:id:481:p:657-662
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