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Bernard Mandeville: Wealth beyond Vice and Virtue


  • Jimena Hurtado


Bernard Mandeville denounced the moral philosophy of his times, its theoretical and practical dimensions, as elitist and contrary to human nature. The explanations and recommendations derived from this moral philosophy, according to Mandeville, were inadequate to understand and govern commercial society. Mandeville scrutinized existing theories about human nature, confronted them with what he presented as facts and unraveled their contradictions. This leads to Mandeville's challenge: accepting things as they are or assuming the responsibility of transformation. This is the challenge I explore in this paper. We can continue to live in a highly unequal society based on pride and shame or we can create incentives that will lead to a different calculation of passions in line with a Utilitarian criterion.

Suggested Citation

  • Jimena Hurtado, 2023. "Bernard Mandeville: Wealth beyond Vice and Virtue," Documentos CEDE 20684, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:020684

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dang, Ai-Thu, 2016. "Technological Change And Economic Dynamics From The Scottish Enlightenment To Contemporary Evolutionary Economics," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(2), pages 211-228, June.
    2. Ai-Thu Dang, 2016. "Technological Change and Economic Dynamics from the Scottish Enlightenment to Contemporary Evolutionary Economics," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00976364, HAL.
    3. Antonella Picchio, 2003. "Needs and passions of human subsistence in the moral economy of the early 18th century: Defoe and Mandeville," History of Economic Ideas, Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma, vol. 11(2), pages 7-29.
    4. Ai-Thu Dang, 2016. "Technological Change and Economic Dynamics from the Scottish Enlightenment to Contemporary Evolutionary Economics," Post-Print hal-00976364, HAL.
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      Bernard Mandeville; moral philosophy; Utilitarianism.;
      All these keywords.

      JEL classification:

      • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
      • B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
      • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals

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