… is from page 272 of Jacob Viner’s 1968 International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences article, “Mercantilist Thought,” as it is reprinted in the 1991 collection, edited by Douglas Irwin, Jacob Viner: Essays on the Intellectual History of Economics:
It was, in fact, much more the pacific and cosmopolitan views of the philosophes and the Illuminati on the Continent and of men like David Hume and Adam Smith in Britain than the more strictly economic argument of these and other writers that first put mercantilism seriously on the defensive among intellectuals.
DBx: Mercantilism – which at a purely intellectual level is a goulash of errors – is at root and throughout its corpus also a vestige of human tribalism.
Mercantilism, of course, infests the modern world with its illogic and legerdemain. But what’s worse, mercantilism both springs from tribalism’s narrow-mindedness and prejudice and continues to fuel these ugly attitudes. These attitudes might have served our ancestors well many millennia ago, but they are today not merely atavistic but downright destructive. (It is deeply ironic that many of today’s so-called “Progressives” embrace mercantilism with the same enthusiasm that Trump expresses in his embrace of this toxic and belligerent blast from humanity’s past.)