Mandeville on charity schools: happiness, social order and the psychology of poverty
Keywords:poverty, happiness, employment, necessity, mercantilism
Bernard Mandeville was not alone in criticising the charity school movement that had developed in Britain starting in late 1600; yet his Essay on charity and charity-schools is extremely provocative, especially as it regards the conditions of the poor. He criticises the selfish intentions and motives of charity schools, and inquires whether such schools are socially advantageous. This essay aims, first, to shed light on Mandeville's views on charity and charity schools, and demonstrate that such views are consistent with his moral thought. Second, this essay addresses problems inherent in Mandeville's views on how the working poor should be "managed"; what he proposes does not appear to guarantee (but rather puts at further risk) societal peace or the happiness of poor people.