Friday, February 19, 2010

Sex, Lies and Economists

Sounds like an interesting book project;

A short chapter will cover Bernard Mandeville, author of "An Essay upon Whoring: A Modest Defence of Publick Stews," which made the case for state-run brothels. He congratulated the city fathers of Amsterdam for tolerating "Houses in which Women are hired as publickly as Horses at a Livery Stable." Mandeville's simultaneous celebration of both free markets and licentious behavior posed a problem for Adam Smith's generation, which had to find a way to respond to Mandeville in making their case for markets on ethical grounds. Mandeville reappears centuries later in Keynes' General Theory, in making his case for the need to stimulate demand.

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