What was mercantilism? How could it have been a cause of war?  Of economic growth?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mercantilism is an economic philosophy that suggests that the amount of trade possible among countries of the world is a fixed quantity and a single country's ability to participate in that trade governs how well it fares.  Whether a country has capital to invest or the necessary cash and other...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Mercantilism is an economic philosophy that suggests that the amount of trade possible among countries of the world is a fixed quantity and a single country's ability to participate in that trade governs how well it fares.  Whether a country has capital to invest or the necessary cash and other resources to participate determine their trade balance (or imbalance) thus determining their level of benefit from the world wide trade.

It could certainly spur economic growth as a country works to participate more fully and more to its advantage on the international stage.  Capital may be more efficiently invested or moved and various internal movements to encourage a positive trade balance may also encourage growth.

It may cause conflict as one nation finds itself unable to efficiently or peacefully take advantage of the global trade and strikes out against another nation in order to increase their share or take control of a portion of that trade.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team