Once upon a time there was a large beehive that lived in comfort and luxury. Very fertile with vital swarms, it was famous for laws and armies; but above all to be the cradle of science and art. There were never bees with a better government, but never were there bees more restless and discontented.
London, early 1700s. Bernard de Mandeville, Dutch, is a doctor who delights in writing fairy tales. In 1706 he published, anonymously, one that was successfully sold on the streets: La Favola delle api. There is therefore a large hive – indeed, the most powerful – which thrives also thanks to the widespread corruption. Bees go to Jupiter to be freed from that horrible plague. Jupiter is amazed, but he answers their prayer. The reader will have the pleasure of discovering for himself how this fable of six hundred verses proceeds, which entered the cultural debate of pre-revolutionary France and other European countries, animating lively controversies even in the twentieth century. One basic question remains: can a prosperous society do without all forms of corruption?