Essay On Mercantilism

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Chi-Min Su Professor Salmon History of Economic Thought Research Paper Reminiscing Mercantilism As Thomas Mun wrote “England’s Treasure by Foreign Trade”, never would he have imagined that the words in his book would forever be remembered as the basis for the mercantilist school of economic thought. Almost four centuries later the words of Thomas Mun and mercantilists such as Sir William Petty still resonate in the mind of economists. Even though traces of mercantilism are difficult to find in practice today, mercantilism is by no means a thing of the bygone days. From the 16th century to the 20th century, mercantilism has played a vital role in the economic policies of many nations. With four centuries of history, there is without a doubt that mercantilism is deeply rooted in the global economic scene. Historical footprints of mercantilism can be found all over the world; from Europe to America to Asia, mercantilism has seen glory and prominence. Even in its decline mercantilism attempted to adapt to changing economic spheres by detaching applicable mercantilist tenets from the school and applying them to multiple economic issues. Before we could begin to comprehend mercantilism, we must gain a firm grasp of the context in which mercantilism was developed. Prior to the 16th century, Europe’s most influential economic ideas were derived from the likes of St. Thomas Aquinas. A priest by occupation, St. Thomas Aquinas was also a great philosopher who was deeply influenced by the works of Aristotle. Despite primarily propagating Church doctrines, St. Thomas Aquinas also bore the burden of social issues such as economics. Perhaps his most notable contribution to economics was in his book “Summa Theologica” Where he established t... ... middle of paper ... ...with regards to the logical fallacies that exist within the mercantilist school of thought; however, it would be foolish to deny the possible positive outcomes of applying mercantilism. It has been almost four centuries since the emergence of mercantilism, some have failed and some have succeeded in the practice of mercantilism. There may never again be a country that fully embraces every tenet of mercantilism, but it has become common practice to isolate individual tenets and apply them economically. At the end of the day, isn’t mercantilism just like any other economic school of thought? With the rapid spread of globalization, countries that strictly practice one school of economic are diminishing. Modern economics has become a game of mix and match, where economists attempt to find the ideal economic school of thought that combats specific issues they face.

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