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What was the theory of mercantilism?
Mercantilism was the economic philosophy underlying English colonial policy. The object of mercantilism was to increase the wealth of the Mother County (Great Britain) in gold and silver. To accomplish that goal, a favorable balance of trade was desired. That means that a nation would sell more than it would purchase, thus creating a surplus in the treasury. The name of the philosophy points out the importance is of merchants in this policy. Merchants would sell products to foreign nations and purchased items to be sold within the nation. Colonies played a vital role in mercantilism. A colony would supply the necessary raw materials to the industries of England and the colonists would be a source of income to the nation because they would buy the finished products and supplies they needed to grow, from the Mother Country. The ideal was to become self-sufficient. The nation would produce everything its people needed and buy nothing from foreign nations. Since the ideal could not be accomplished in the real world of economics, the object of mercantilism was to minimize imports that cost money and maximize exports and the trade that brought money in to the nation.
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