- The definition of mercantilism is an economic system centered around the belief that a government can make a nation more prosperous by regulating trade and using tariffs and other protective measures to achieve a balance of exports over imports.
When a government sets trade regulations and imposes tariffs to make sure that there is an appropriate balance of exports over imports, this method of governing is an example ofmercantilism.
mercantilism definition by Webster's New World
- the doctrine that arose in Europe with the decline of feudalism, that the economic interests of the nation could be strengthened by the government by protection of home industries, as through tariffs, by increased foreign trade, as through monopolies, and by a balance of exports over imports, with a consequent accumulation of bullion
mercantilism definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- The theory and system of political economy prevailing in Europe after the decline of feudalism, based on national policies of accumulating bullion, establishing colonies and a merchant marine, and developing industry and mining to attain a favorable balance of trade.
- The practice, methods, or spirit of merchants; commercialism.
Origin: mercantil(e) + -ism.
- merˈcan·til·ist adjective & n.
- merˌcan·til·isˈtic adjective
mercantilism - Business Definition
mercantilism - Cultural Definition
An economic doctrine that flourished in Europe from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries. Mercantilists held that a nation's wealth consisted primarily in the amount of gold and silver in its treasury. Accordingly, mercantilist governments imposed extensive restrictions on their economies to ensure a surplus of exports over imports. In the eighteenth century, mercantilism was challenged by the doctrine of laissez-faire. (See also Adam Smith.)