In: Business and Management

Submitted By vinitthomas
Words 5072
Pages 21 mer·can·til·ism (mûrkn-t-lzm, -t-)
1. The theory and system of political economy prevailing in Europe after the decline of feudalism, based on national policies of accumulating bullion, establishing colonies and a merchant marine, and developing industry and mining to attain a favorable balance of trade.
2. The practice, methods, or spirit of merchants; commercialism.

The Mercantilists

For Europe, the 17th century was "the most horrible century", engulfed by interminable national, religious and civil wars, made memorable for their particularly savage brutality. From ashes and smoke, the national state was formed and enshrined in the Reformation-inspired contractual "natural law" philosophy of Grotius, Hobbes and Pufendorf.
With the rise of the State, the 17th Century marked the ascendancy of two classes of peoples needed by the State: bureaucrats to run it and merchants to finance it. It was from the assorted pamphlets, studies and treatises of these groups of practitioners that Mercantilism developed. In England and Holland, the bulk of the economic writing was done by merchants drawn from their rising bourgeois communities -- thus the term "Mercantilism". In France and Germany, where the bourgeoisie was smaller, economic arguments were articulated largely by state officials -- thus French Mercantilism is better known as "Colbertisme" (named after Jean-Baptiste Colbert, French minister of finance) and German Mercantilism as "Cameralism" (after the German term for the royal chamber).
This difference in background between English-Dutch and French-German Mercantilists did not imply much difference in their economic doctrine. Both groups recognized the intimate, symbiotic relationship between the wealth of merchants and the power of…...

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