By Philip J. Stern, Carl Wennerlind
Rethinking Mercantilism brings jointly a bunch of younger early smooth British and eu historians to enquire what use the idea that "mercantilism" may nonetheless carry for either students and lecturers of the interval. whereas students usually locate the time period unsatisfactory, mercantilism has stubbornly survived either in our school rooms and within the common scholarly discourse. those essays suggest that it's principally most unlikely to reconsider "mercantilism," given its precise prestige as a non-entity, by means of trying to find "mercantilism" itself. Economics as a self-discipline had no longer emerged by way of the 17th century, but financial issues have been a part of such a lot highbrow ambitions, no matter if medical, political, cultural, or social. therefore, the hunt for "mercantilism" is healthier undertaken via an research of ways financial concerns have been embedded in debates during the early sleek highbrow panorama. With this in brain, this ebook seeks to reconsider "mercantilism" inductively instead of deductively. Such an process not just frees the controversy from the strictures and assumptions of historiography attaining again to the Scottish Enlightenment, but in addition avoids viewing the interval throughout the lens of recent economics. Exploring the interval in its personal phrases makes it attainable to revisit fruitfully and extra holistically a number of the conventional part elements of "mercantilism" comparable to the connection among wealth and funds, the trendy kingdom and trade, monetary and political proposal, and tool and prosperity purely now trained and inflected via the questions raised in new ways and developments to the highbrow, political, social, and cultural histories that populated the early glossy world.
The aim of this quantity isn't really to desert mercantilism as an idea yet to reconsider its highbrow and political content material. First, instead of an ideology pushed basically by way of self-evident and slim financial self-interest, "mercantilism" used to be inseparable from the wealthy alterations rising out of the swiftly altering early smooth highbrow panorama; as such, the learn of mercantilism now not appears to be like completely as a subject matter of the historical past of monetary inspiration, yet half and parcel of early glossy highbrow background extra usually.
Second, the ebook argues that the typical imaginative and prescient of a "mercantile method" premised upon a coherent, robust, and expansive geographical region is unsustainable. The cornerstone of "mercantilism" has lengthy been the idea of a robust and coherent country equipment with the authority to regulate and manage the field of trade for its personal ends. This quantity explores the results on our knowing of early glossy fiscal considered the hot popularity between historians that the early smooth nation was once particularly vulnerable, decentralized, and amorphous. furthermore, the truth that fresh study has consistently re-emphasized the position of quite a few political groups (not simply the country, but in addition church, companies, and groups of pirates and smugglers) in shaping public lifestyles recommends wondering which polities mercantilism sought to serve, and vice versa, at any given time. those and different questions will essentially be pursued within the English context, with occasional comparisons to the continental event.
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Rethinking Mercantilism brings jointly a gaggle of younger early sleek British and ecu historians to enquire what use the idea that "mercantilism" may possibly nonetheless carry for either students and academics of the interval. whereas students frequently locate the time period unsatisfactory, mercantilism has stubbornly survived either in our school rooms and within the normal scholarly discourse.
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Extra resources for Mercantilism Reimagined: Political Economy in Early Modern Britain and Its Empire
25 The resulting multiplication of vagrants needed measuring so as to calibrate poor rates to needs of this new multitude. ”29 Yet these children were “blessings” to the commonwealth; the problem was not the quantity of poor but their quality. 31 The apparatus of poor laws, workhouses, and apprenticeships would transform the idle poor into an industrious multitude. . 33 The mariner’s place in writing on trade paralleled the plowman’s in anti-enclosure literature: a paragon of industry and a bastion of liberty, he was threatened by greed (the East India Company) and neglect (of the English fishery).
27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. Finkelstein, Harmony and the Balance: An Intellectual History of Seventeenth-Century English Economic Thought (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), 123. On legibility, see James Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998). ” See also Patricia Cline Cohen, A Calculating People: The Spread of Numeracy in Early America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 39. See Andrew McRae, God Speed the Plough: The Representation of Agrarian England, 1500–1660 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 23–79.
For Keynes’s views on mercantilism, see the penultimate chapter of The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (London: Macmillan, 1936). 11. , Revisions in Mercantilism; Coleman, “Mercantilism Revisited,” Historical Journal 23, no. 4 (1980), 773–91. 12. A. V. , Revisions, 35. 13. In historical work, mercantilism tends to serve as a handy (often alliterative) periodization for the pre-industrial economy; see among many other examples, Damsård Hansen, European Economic History: From Mercantilism to Maastricht and Beyond (Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press, 2001); and Gianni Vaggi, A Concise History of Economic Thought: From Mercantilism to Monetarism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), as well as in itself as an “age” standing in for the period of early modern expansion of European maritime empires.