History of Mercantilism

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  • Topic: Capitalism, Mercantilism, Jean-Baptiste Colbert
  • Pages : 2 (395 words )
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  • Published : May 8, 2008
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Some economic historians (like Peter Temin) argue that the economy of the Early Roman Empire was a market economy and one of the most advanced agricultural economies to have existed (in terms of productivity, urbanization and development of capital markets), comparable to the most advanced economies of the world before the Industrial Revolution, namely the economies of 18th century England and 17th century Netherlands. There were markets for every type of good, for land, for cargo ships; there was even an insurance market.[4]

Early free markets were also present in the Caliphate,[5] where an early market economy and early form of merchant capitalism was developed between the 8th-12th centuries, which some refer to as "Islamic capitalism".[6] A vigorous monetary economy was created on the basis of the expanding levels of circulation of a stable high-value currency (the dinar) and the integration of monetary areas that were previously independent. Innovative new business techniques and forms of business organisation were introduced, which included trading companies, bills of exchange, contracts, long-distance trade, big businesses, partnerships (mufawada in Arabic) such as limited partnerships (mudaraba), and the concepts of credit, profit, capital (al-mal) and capital accumulation (nama al-mal). Many of these early mercantile concepts were adopted and further advanced in medieval Europe from the 13th century onwards.[2]

Many European economists between 1500 and 1750 are today generally considered mercantilists; however, these economists did not see themselves as contributing to a single economic ideology. The bulk of what is commonly called "mercantilist literature" appeared in the 1620s in Great Britain.[7] However, the term was coined by the French writer Victor de Riqueti, marquis de Mirabeau in 1763 in his Philosophie Rurale, although the French form of mercantilism was called Colbertism after 1600s French finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Perhaps...
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