mer·​can·​til·​ism | \ ˈmər-kən-ˌtē-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce mercantilism (audio) , -ˌtī-, -tə- \

Definition of mercantilism

1 : the theory or practice of mercantile pursuits : commercialism
2 : an economic system developing during the decay of feudalism to unify and increase the power and especially the monetary wealth of a nation by a strict governmental regulation of the entire national economy usually through policies designed to secure an accumulation of bullion (see bullion sense 1), a favorable balance of trade, the development of agriculture and manufactures, and the establishment of foreign trading monopolies (see monopoly sense 1)

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Other Words from mercantilism

mercantilist \ ˈmər-​kən-​ˌtē-​list How to pronounce mercantilist (audio) , -​ˌtī-​ , -​tə-​ \ noun or adjective
mercantilistic \ ˌmər-​kən-​ˌtē-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce mercantilistic (audio) , -​ˌtī-​ , -​tə-​ \ adjective

Examples of mercantilism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The political significance of Mr. Xi’s economic mercantilism is harder to predict. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Tale of Two Chinese Economies," 25 Sep. 2020 More ominously, China’s mercantilism is part of a larger Xi Jinping strategy to establish a new military and commercial hegemony in Asia. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Missing China Trade Strategy," 18 Sep. 2018 This dichotomy suggests that citizens of Western democracies face a choice between a globalist economic and political order—of which stakeholder advocacy is a part—and a retreat into mercantilism, nativism and cultural stasis. Richard J. Shinder, WSJ, "The Davos Crowd Embraces Big Global Government," 26 Jan. 2020 The economic priorities branch out into two further categories: (1) reducing distortions to the global economy caused by Chinese mercantilism or (2) reducing the bilateral trade deficit. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "Phase One of the China Trade Agreement in Context," 23 Jan. 2020 In negotiations aimed at least in part at curtailing Chinese mercantilism, American representatives requested that China direct bilateral trade from on high. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "Phase One of the China Trade Agreement in Context," 23 Jan. 2020 While trade theorists exhorted the US and its partners to practice free trade, China was cleaning America’s clock with an unapologetic strategy of mercantilism. Rober Kuttner, Time, "Trump Will Fail on China Trade War, but Progressive Democrats Must Carry On the Fight," 30 Sep. 2019 Certainly, Trump’s agenda of closing the border, using tariffs to overturn a half-century of Chinese mercantilism, and pulling back from optional overseas military interventions variously offends both Democrats and establishment Republicans. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Trump’s fighting — and winning — a culture war on all fronts," 19 Sep. 2019 But no serious critic has offered any other strategy to counter four decades of systematic Chinese mercantilism and economic exploitation. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Trump — or What, Exactly?," 27 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mercantilism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of mercantilism

1838, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of mercantilism was in 1838

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Cite this Entry

“Mercantilism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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