Does Austerity Promote Economic Growth?

NEW HAVEN – In his classic Fable of the Bees: or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits(1724), Bernard Mandeville, the Dutch-born British philosopher and satirist, described – in verse – a prosperous society (of bees) that suddenly chose to make a virtue of austerity, dropping all excess expenditure and extravagant consumption. What then happened?

The Price of Land and Houses falls;

Mirac’lous Palaces, whose Walls,

Like those of Thebes, were rais’d by Play