Sociology Index


Mercantilism is an economic theory that preceded the modern concept of a market economy regulated by the forces of supply and demand. Mercantilism or Mercantilist ideas were quite varied but a common theme is the importance to any nation of maintaining a favorable balance of international trade, ideally leading to net inflows of precious metals.

To attain this mercantilism it was appropriate for the state to intervene in the market place by vigorous economic regulation backed by state authority. Among classic mercantilist policies were laws requiring colonial territories to trade only with the imperial power, imposition of monopolies in merchant shipping and trading rights and the establishment of physical quotas to manage and regulate trade.

Neo-Mercantilism: - The Pursuit of Regionness - BJ�RN HETTNE 
Mercantilism can be understood as a pursuit of stateness, an articulation of the nation-state logic vis-�-vis the free play of market forces. The contemporary context of the mercantilist logic is the international political economy, in which `the political' refers to a transnational framework of economic transactions, in brief, a world order.

Hence the concept `neomercantilism', to which this discussion is primarily addressed. This conceptualization is somewhat troublesome because of the historical association of mercantilism with the nation-state. The solution to this paradox is to see regionalism as a return of `the political', the need for control, in a transnational context. The argument is pursued in three steps: first the concept is located in the historical political economy discourse, focusing on mercantilism proper; second, a definition of neo-mercantilism is suggested which associates it with `the new regionalism' in a global context, more precisely the pursuit of `regionness'.

Battling Worldliness in the New Zion: Mercantilism versus Homespun in Nineteenth-Century Utah - Russell W. Belk, University of Utah 
Mormon pioneers fled to Utah with a prophetic vision of a self-contained cooperative and communal society. This vision had a place for agriculture and manufacturing but held merchandising to be at least vaguely immoral. In the ensuing battle between the original vision and mercantilism, the utopian view ultimately lost.

Review Essay : Defending Benign Mercantilism 
Susan Strange, Department of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science 
Clearly designed as a textbook for advanced students of international political economy, Gilpin's book is by far the best yet to come out of the American school. Students in Europe too will welcome his clear, fair-minded and comprehensive exposition of recent developments and debates in theories of the world economy-though Holsti's complaint in A Divided Discipline (1986), that American writers are oblivious to authors that are not American, with a few exceptions, still holds good.

Implicit Mercantilism, Oligopoly, and Trade
Martin C. McGuire and Hiroshi Ohta
Abstract: The authors propose a new model of trade between developing and advanced economies to capture the effects of important asymmetries in the organizations of their industries. This model demonstrates how the industrial structure of a developing economy can evolve to produce what the authors call "implicit mercantilism." Free entry plus domestic oligopoly in a developing economy, when combined with competitive behavior in developed countries, generates several distinct stages of mercantilism hitherto unrecognized in the literature. Each stage has its own pattern of interaction with a competitive trading world. As the production costs and techniques of the mercantile society converge to world standards, its citizens will first lose from this progress, only later to gain.

Monopoly, Mercantilism, and the Politics of Regulation 
THOMAS B. NACHBAR, University of Virginia School of Law - Virginia Law Review, Vol. 91, p. 1313, 2005 
Abstract: Within intellectual property, Darcy v. Allen and the Statute of Monopolies are frequently, almost reflexively, invoked as establishing a baseline norm of economic freedom from which governments depart when they grant exclusive rights to deal in any trade or article of commerce. Against this free-market backdrop, all such grants are suspect, and only those that are justified by reference to their originality or utility are valid. Rejecting the dominant view of Darcy and the Statute of Monopolies, the paper provides a more detailed political and legislative history of both the compromise leading to Darcy and the adoption of the Statute of Monopolies than any to date, and consequently demonstrates that their true importance lies in their political, not economic, content.