1.5 — Mercantilism — Class Content

Meeting Dates

Tuesday, September 6, 2022


We are entering the era of mercantilism, and will spend at least a week in this era before we get to the Classical economists. There are a lot of well-develoepd writings from a lot of well-known thinkers of this era. Since we will not be lingering long, there is a lot of reading in a short amount of time. Thus, it’s most important that you read the secondary textbook, and in the Reader, read the biographies of Mun, Petty, and Mandeville, and then skim each of their writings to get a feel for what they are interested in and how they discuss it.


Required Readings

  • Thomas Mun, William Petty, Bernard de Mandeville1 & skim each’s writings in Reader
  • Ch.3 Early Preclassical Economic Thought up through Physiocracy (p.56) in Landreth & Colander
  • Ch.1 Pre-Adamite Economics up through Physiocracy (p.24) in Blaug

Blaug unfortunately does not cover anything before mercantilism & the physiocrats.

Questions to Help Your Reading

  • Who are the mercantlists, and why are they writing?
  • What are the mercantilists interested in?
  • What are the policy prescriptions of the mercantilists?
  • How do the mercantlists view human nature?
  • What is the role of government according to the mercantilists?
  • What aspects of mercantilism are still present today?
  • What does modern economics think of mercantilist ideas?


Below, you can find the slides in two formats. Clicking the image will bring you to the html version of the slides in a new tab. The lower button will allow you to download a PDF version of the slides.


You can type h to see a special list of viewing options, and type o for an outline view of all the slides.

I suggest printing the slides beforehand and using them to take additional notes in class (not everything is in the slides)!


Download as PDF


Participation/Discussion Board Posts Due 8 PM Fri Sep 9

This week’s graded discussion is worth 5 points, and can be a combination of discussion in class, and/or posts on the Blackboard Discussion Board by 8 PM this Friday September 9.


  1. Yes, this is a little out of order↩︎