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The Mercantilism Definition of World History

What is mercantilism? And how did it evolve from the sixteenth century? Its origins can be traced back to the privileged commercial companies formed by state power and market-oriented entrepreneurship. As part of the process, a nation would delegate its government authority and property rights to the privileged commercial companies. It would also require the construction of forts to protect its interests from indigenous people, naval power, and other European nations. Mercantilism was also linked to diplomatic relations between European nations and their indigenous rulers.


Mercantilism was a form of economics that served the interests of emerging European nation states. However, it was not the only idea for wealth building. Similarly, the American colonies sought to build solid economic foundations for a new state. In contrast to the mercantilist idea, individual actors never intended to benefit the public. Rather, they were guided by an invisible hand. The result was that, even after the French Revolution, the mercantilist idea had a limited impact on world history.

Mercantilism vs capitalism

Mercantilism developed in Europe between 1500 and 1750, a period in which many economists did not subscribe to any one particular economic theory but shared similar theoretical tendencies. Mercantilism arose as the economy moved from isolated feudal estates to centralized nation-states. Economic growth remained strong because of increased production and consumption, while saving and parsimony were regarded as virtues.

Mercantilism vs cabotage laws

Mercantilism and cabotage laws have both existed throughout history. Both were originally devised to protect British coastal trade and to promote their own trade. They later evolved to protect their own colonial trade, limiting foreign participation. Ultimately, they restricted trade by preventing foreign countries from exporting certain goods and requiring them to purchase British goods. Today, both legal systems have their benefits and drawbacks.

Mercantilism vs bullionism

Mercantilism and bullionism were two different economic systems in the world. Each had their merits and weaknesses, but in the end, neither was successful for any given country. The rise and fall of feudalism and the development of strong national states were important factors in mercantilism’s development. Here are some examples of the key differences between the two systems. Let’s explore each of them in turn.

Mercantilism vs colonialism

Mercantilism vs colonilism can be seen as a parallel in world history. During the mid-1600s, Britain used mercantilism as a means to protect its interests in the New World. During this period, Britain was almost always at war with its rivals, and therefore needed a steady stream of revenue to keep the military in place. Because of this, Britain imposed various taxes on colonists to fund its own military. The colonists were outraged, and this discord led to the American Revolution.

Mercantilism vs mercantilistic trade

Throughout world history, nations have been engaged in mercantilistic trade to increase their exports while reducing their imports. Essentially, mercantilistic nations work to accumulate wealth through the export of finished products and in return receive gold and silver currencies in exchange. In this example, country A would purchase $100 worth of goods from country B, resulting in a net outflow of $60.

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