Mercantilism



[mur-kuh n-ti-liz-uh m, -tee-, -tahy-] /ˈmɜr kən tɪˌlɪz əm, -ti-, -taɪ-/

noun
1.
practices or spirit; commercialism.
2.
.
/ˈmɜːkəntɪˌlɪzəm/
noun
1.
(economics) Also called mercantile system. a theory prevalent in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries asserting that the wealth of a nation depends on its possession of precious metals and therefore that the government of a nation must maximize the foreign trade surplus, and foster national commercial interests, a merchant marine, the establishment of colonies, etc
2.
a rare word for commercialism (sense 1)
n.

1834, from French mercantilisme; see mercantile + -ism. Related: mercantilist.
mercantilism [(mur-kuhn-tee-liz-uhm, mur-kuhn-ti-liz-uhm, mur-kuhn-teye-liz-uhm)]

An economic doctrine that flourished in Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Mercantilists held that a nation’s wealth consisted primarily in the amount of gold and silver in its treasury. Accordingly, mercantilist governments imposed extensive restrictions on their economies to ensure a surplus of exports over imports. In the eighteenth century, mercantilism was challenged by the doctrine of laissez-faire. (See also Adam Smith.)

Note: The European quest for colonial holdings in Asia, Africa, and North and South America was partially a product of mercantile economics.

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