Society and personality

Economics: problems, approaches, solutions

Dmitry Khaustov
DOI: 10.17212/2075-0862-2015-3.2-63-74

The purpose of the article is to analyze the role of mercantilism in the context of economic policy during the crisis of the XVII century. Traditionally, the study is carried out within the mercantilism
economic history discourse. However, the author has given his analysis not only from the standpoint of the theory of fi nance but also from the standpoints of historical sociology, demography and climate. The
author believes that mercantilism can be: a political practice, a perceived need, and a destructive fi nancial technology. The negative aspects of mercantilism as an economic policy and a fi nancial technology are mainly considered in the article. The basic requirements of mercantilism ideology provoked an aggressive foreign policy: intra-wars and the seizure of colonies. It is concluded that mercantilism has metaeconomic reasons: demographic and climatic. The policy of mercantilism was the result of European societies being caught into the Malthusian trap in the XVII century due to overpopulation and global cooling. There are two ways out of the Malthusian trap. The fi rst one involves external aggression with the aim of increasing the proportion of ever diminishing amount of resources of the world economy during the crisis. The second way is the creation of a new, broader resource base through innovations and cheap labor of the marginalized layers of the population. The practical application of the mercantilism ideology in the XVII century became a self-fulfi lling prophecy, which stigmatized the category of “duty” and thus destroyed the people’s credit system in the preceding era in England. Credit money was replaced by metal cash in circulation and marginalized workers labor became the prerequisites of the industrial revolution.

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