Bernard Mandeville was a Dutch writer and economist from the 18th century. His most famous work is the Grumbling Hive (1705) and his defense of that poem The Fable of the Bees (1714), which included the former work in it. Both of these poems are based on a bee hive that represents human society. It explains how Mandeville thinks society, particularly economics, should really be. His two most important ideas from these poems are namely that people are driven by selfishness and that there is a certain spontaneous order that comes to society. However, Mandeville’s poems were written terribly and they aren’t great examples of writing. So why did Mandeville come down in history as important?
The two main ideas from Mandeville’s works are spontaneous order and selfishness. Looking at the work of Adam Smith, a Scottish economist and philosopher, The Wealth of Nations, we find these two ideas as the base of Smith’s philosophy. Continue reading
“How important is the idea of covenant sanctions in the week’s readings? (Readings from the King James version of the Bible.)”
What are sanctions? The idea of sanctions is that if you do something wrong you will have to pay for it. For example, if you rob someone, now negative sanctions will come upon you. Sanctions can also be positive. If you help or serve someone, you may feel happy. That would be positive sanctions.
A covenant is an agreement between two parties to do something. In terms of the Bible, the covenant was between God and the people of Israel.
Covenantal sanctions are extremely important in the Bible, if not the central part of it. For example, God through Moses gave the people the Ten Commandments to live by. If they disobeyed these guidelines, God would bring negative sanctions upon them. Continue reading
In the world today it is common for a successful and wealthy country to give foreign aid to struggling countries. The reasoning behind this is that foreign aid helps those countries to improve. The common example to back this up is the Marshall Plan—a post-World War II foreign aid program given by the U.S.A. to the Western European countries devastated by the war. After this plan was put into effect, most of the countries were better off.
However, this doesn’t mean that it was the foreign aid that made the difference. For one thing, any country that is devastated by war is going to improve once war is ended because it now has a chance to naturally recover. Secondly, in the WWII case, some countries were already recovering before the foreign aid was received. Also, Britain received twice as much as West Germany, but the latter was better off.
So, what is responsible for a countries development and improvement if not foreign aid? Some say that it is the free market and less or no government intervention. When there is no foreign aid, the need for a reform arises. However, if you have suffocating regulations, whether or not you have a chance to reform, you cannot due to a controlling government.
Therefore, in order to improve and develop a country, the introduction, or return to, the free market and a free economy is the solution, not foreign aid.
Does the government have to intervene in order to improve the standard of living? Not necessarily, because the free market can also raise it.
Without capital goods (the equipment that makes production possible, such as backhoes, sewing machines, machines for the transportation of products, etc…) the standard of living falls because we cannot produce enough to keep people all having the same amount of daily living products as before.
How can we raise the standard of living without government intervention?
We would need more consumer goods. For this we need more capital goods to make production faster and more efficient—therefore producing more. To gain capital goods, we need more savings and investments, which come from business men in the free market being able to operate without interference.
This is how the free market can improve the standard of living.
Which promotes greater personal responsibility, the free market or the welfare state?
Under the welfare state the people rely upon the government to give them their money. Therefore, they do not have to have the responsibility of earning money in order to feed, clothe and house themselves or their families.
Under the free market people must rely upon themselves, without aid from the government, to make a living.
Therefore, the free market promotes and requires greater personal responsibility.