Talk:The Fable of the Bees

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Problems.[edit]

My attention was drawn here upon seeing a misconstruction of a source of which I have some familiarity. Further examination shows that everything about the topic – aside from the excerpts themselves – is from a single source, Keynes' General Theory. This wasn't immediately obvious as the citations are woefully inadequate. I am going correct various matters, including the citations, though I do not propose to correct every problem. If there is anyone with a particular interest in this topic: I suspect there are sufficient materials for good "critical review" (or some such) section. ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 21:22, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Done. I have not removed the tag as more work is needed. In particular, the "Prose expansion" and "Economic views" need to be expanded. The former might more properly be about the book, particularly the second edition, which is barely mentioned. There is probably enough commentary for a whole section on "Modern criticism" (remembering that criticism does not mean negative commentary, but rather, careful or studied commentary). ~ J. Johnson (JJ) (talk) 23:22, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Good heavens, though! The fixes point at libertarian sources, which is hardly a remedy to a purely Keynesian interpretation. Yes, Smith drew upon Bernard de Mandeville, but Mandeville remains enigmatic. Interpreting him in his own day is difficult. He appears to have been one of a number of what can best be called "radical whigs" -- including Charles Cotton, for example -- who proposed quite radical critiques of general Whig economic theory. They therefore were not comfortably "left" or "right" in their own day, and Mandeville sticks out just as radically when people attempt to fold him into Hutcheson and Smith. Hutcheson and Smith both worked from a theory of benign human nature, where Mandeville is a pessimist. (A Theory of Moral Sentiments makes this assumption pretty clear.) Mandeville is nearly, if we can stretch the word to its breaking point, Deist in his capacity to regard vicious human nature to aggregate and blunt its individual force, whereas both Hutcheson and Smith argued that people simply won't do evil things knowingly, because it is irrational. Hithladaeus (talk) 14:54, 17 July 2015 (UTC)