INTERMEDIATE

Mercantilism

Mercantilism was the dominant economic philosophy during the 17th and part of the 18th centuries. Mercantilism believes that trade always benefits one party at the expense of the other. In addition, advocates viewed trade and wealth in terms of the state, rather than the individual. Government policies reflected this as they attempted to regulate trade in a manner which limited imports. Adam Smith mounted the definitive assault on mercantilist policies in his Wealth of Nations where he advocated free exchange over mercantilist controls. Even after Smith, governments continue to embrace mercantilist policies in the form of tariffs, subsidies, and military intervention in countries that have resources of perceived geo-political importance. 

Lawrence Reed- Adam Smith and the Birth of Economics

Burt Folsom - The Myth of the Robber Barons

 

Jack Chambless - The Curse of Alexander Hamilton

Related Publications

ARTICLE

The Tide in the Affairs of Men

DECEMBER 19, 2008

ARCHIVE

About that Famous Tea Party

DECEMBER 14, 2006

Tea. Warm, fragrant, and comforting, especially during the bustle of Christmas. It's hard to believe this soothing potion once enraged a whole town and pushed a country toward revolution. But it did, 233 years ago Saturday in Boston. More . . .

A NEW article by Becky Akers

ARCHIVE

History Lesson Lost

OCTOBER 06, 2006 by SHELDON RICHMAN

Call me nostalgic, but I still have a thing for the Articles of Confederation. Maybe it's the enticement of forbidden fruit. In the government schools I attended little if anything was said about the eight years during which the United States of America were governed under the Articles. The curriculum writers must have had a good reason for not devoting class time to that period. What didn't they want us to know? More . . .A NEW article by Sheldon Richman

ARCHIVE

Don't Talk Trade, Free it

AUGUST 11, 2006

The collapse late last month of world trade talks, known as the Doha Round (after the capital of Qatar), was overshadowed by continuing bad news from Iraq and Afghanistan and the outbreak of war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. While the bloodletting there is unlikely to be the golden opportunity some think it is, the breakdown of the WTO talks could be -- if we seize it. More . . .

A NEW article by Sheldon Richman

Related Freeman Articles

ARTICLE

Adam Smith versus Business

Suspicion well-grounded.

MARCH 09, 2012 by SHELDON RICHMAN

Advocates of the freed market should embrace Smith's understanding of political economy: that a powerful force against freedom emanates from where they might least expect to find it.

ARTICLE

The Founding of the American Republic: 6. The Mercantile Impasse

JANUARY 01, 1972 by CLARENCE B. CARSON

How British mercantile policies interfered with business and trade in the colonies and led to war.

ONLINE EVENTS

FEE offers live online events for people new to the economic, ethical, and legal principles of a free society.

CURRENT ISSUE

November 2014

It's been 40 years since F. A. Hayek received his Nobel Prize. His insights, particularly on the distribution of knowledge and the impossibility of economic planning, remain hugely important today. In this issue, we look back on the influence of his work. Max Borders and Craig Biddle debate whether liberty must be defended from one absolute foundation, further reflections on Scottish secession, and how technology is already changing our world for the better--including how robots, despite the unease they cause, will only accelerate this process.
Download Free PDF

PAST ISSUES

SUBSCRIBE

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION

img E-mail Subscription

VIEW PRIVACY POLICY