Essay Mercantilism

Essay Mercantilism-85
One often reads in mercantilist tomes that foreign trade would be more beneficial than would domestic trade.And some of the early mercantilists, like John Hales, were enchanted by the idea of an overflowing treasure chest.In 1598 Barthélemy de Laffemas, a French thinker, denounced those who opposed the use of expensive silks.

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This idea had important consequences for economic policy.And almost all mercantilists considered ways of bringing more people into the labour force.Mr Grampp even suggests that Keynesian economics "has an affinity to mercantilist doctrine”, given their shared concern with full employment.In fact, they were alarmed by the idea of hoarding gold and silver.This is because many mercantilist thinkers were most concerned with maximising employment.But according to research by Lars Magnusson of Uppsala University, Smith’s contribution did not represent such a sharp break.The father of economics was certainly concerned with the effects of some mercantilist policies.And a paper by William Grampp, published in 1952, offers a subtler account of mercantilism.Mr Grampp concedes that mercantilists were keen on foreign trade.But there is an important distinction between mercantilist practice and mercantilist thought.The opinions of thinkers were often mangled when they were translated into policies.


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