mercantilism

noun
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

Initially this was a refutation of the idea of mercantilism that had dominated European policy in the 1600s and 1700s. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: ‘Inflation is solved’? Don’t bank on it," 28 July 2019 Hume was no fan of slavery, mercantilism, or the apparatus of imperialism; Adam Smith, his compatriot, was more outspoken about these evils still. Kwame Anthony Appiah, The New York Review of Books, "Dialectics of Enlightenment," 9 May 2019 Some analysts have described the nation’s evolving trade approach as mercantilism, a government effort to prop up exports and restrain imports in pursuit of trade and financial surpluses. Jon Hilsenrath, WSJ, "Under Trump, a Strong Economy but Murky Policy Outlook," 1 Apr. 2018 First, policymaking suffers as, instead of a coherent programme, America undergoes government by impulse—anger, nativism, mercantilism—beyond the reach of empirical argument. The Economist, "The Republican Party is organised around one man," 19 Apr. 2018 The Trump administration is right to make Chinese mercantilism an issue, Mr. Cass says, but its response has been ineffectual. Jason Willick, WSJ, "Conservatives and the Politics of Work," 23 Nov. 2018 The economy is on an upswing, propped up by debt but also, for now, defying conventional theories that mercantilism will sap China’s creative vigor. Andrew Browne, WSJ, "If This Is a Trade War, China’s Winning," 26 Sep. 2017 His steel and aluminum tariffs punish friends who could forge an alliance against Chinese mercantilism. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Disruption Isn’t Enough," 10 June 2018 The Economist was founded in opposition to tariffs and mercantilism. The Economist, "America’s allies should stand up to its reckless trade policy," 7 June 2018

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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2 Aug 2019

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The first known use of mercantilism was in 1838

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