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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Mercantilism

Philipp Reinhold

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 22 October 2019

Subject(s):
Tariffs — Unilateral acts

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1 The term ‘mercantilism’ is widely used, though its concrete meaning is far from clear. It is assumed that the term goes back to Adam Smith (1723–1790) who criticized in his famous book ‘The Wealth of Nations’ a certain type of commercial policy described by him as the ‘mercantile system’. However, it is argued that the representatives of this commercial policy did not follow a specific dogmatic conception and therefore the term mercantilism does not represent a system at all ( Blaich [1973] 1 ff ). The most common definition was given by the Swedish historian...
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