Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on July 7, 2018

in Myths and Fallacies, Seen and Unseen, Trade

… is from page 263 of Jacob Viner‘s 1968 International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences article, “Mercantilist Thought,” as this article is reprinted in the 1991 collection, edited by Douglas Irwin, Jacob Viner: Essays on the Intellectual History of Economics:

Mercantilism was essentially a folk doctrine, evolved in the light of prevailing historical circumstances and values by simple inference from the apparent facts. It was a doctrine of practical men not given to subtle economic analysis.

DBx: And so mercantilism remains today.

I reject a word that is today often used: “neomercantilism.” I reject this word because there is nothing neo about today’s mercantilism. Mercantilism remains in 2018 what it was in 1718 and in 1618: an intellectually comical, if politically dangerous, mash-up of superficial observations, misunderstanding of terms, and illogical inferences, all hermetically sealed off in the minds of its advocates from criticism, reason, and reality. Mercantilism is the result of a profound failure to observe wisely and to reason consistently.

Mercantilism is a dumpster of fallacies.

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