50 min

The Fable of the Bees In Our Time: Philosophy

    • History

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733) and his critique of the economy as he found it in London, where private vices were condemned without acknowledging their public benefit. In his poem The Grumbling Hive (1705), he presented an allegory in which the economy collapsed once knavish bees turned honest. When republished with a commentary, The Fable of the Bees was seen as a scandalous attack on Christian values and Mandeville was recommended for prosecution for his tendency to corrupt all morals. He kept writing, and his ideas went on to influence David Hume and Adam Smith, as well as Keynes and Hayek.

With

David Wootton
Anniversary Professor of History at the University of York

Helen Paul
Lecturer in Economics and Economic History at the University of Southampton

And

John Callanan
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at King’s College London


Producer: Simon Tillotson

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Bernard Mandeville (1670-1733) and his critique of the economy as he found it in London, where private vices were condemned without acknowledging their public benefit. In his poem The Grumbling Hive (1705), he presented an allegory in which the economy collapsed once knavish bees turned honest. When republished with a commentary, The Fable of the Bees was seen as a scandalous attack on Christian values and Mandeville was recommended for prosecution for his tendency to corrupt all morals. He kept writing, and his ideas went on to influence David Hume and Adam Smith, as well as Keynes and Hayek.

With

David Wootton
Anniversary Professor of History at the University of York

Helen Paul
Lecturer in Economics and Economic History at the University of Southampton

And

John Callanan
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at King’s College London


Producer: Simon Tillotson

50 min

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