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Mercantilist theory - Essay Example

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Each country would try to increase its power by gaining colonies, economic influence, and more consumers for its goods. Britain by virtue of its naval supremacy and earlier industrialization was able to dominate the international political economy. Where possible Britain removed mercantilist restrictions to trade, allowing workers, businesses and investments to flow more freely. The theory and practice of merchantilism was refined by the French finance minister Jean – Baptiste Colbert as well as being reflected in the British Navigation Acts (Hobsbawm, 1975, pp. 36-37). However, mercantilist theory and policies remained and still remain in the international political economy. Countries such as Germany, Russia, Japan, and the United States used protectionism to start up and enhance their industrialization preventing more efficient rivals from shutting it down. Japan would become the role model for importing superior foreign goods, copying them and them exporting cheaper versions. Meanwhile a renewed wave of imperialism at the end of the 19th century increased the competition for colonies and captive markets. Mercantilist theory was popular then and is attractive now because of its emphasis on national self -interest and gaining at the expense of others. However, the advantages of domestic popularity and employment protection need to be considered in relation to consequences within the international political economy. England and later Britain were always keen on maintaining a balance of power. ...Show more
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The aim of the paper “Mercantilist theory” is to examine mercantilist theory, which equates to restrictions being placed upon free trade when governments are more prepared to intervene in the international political economy or if needs be to by pass it. …
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