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“The Principle of the Mercantile System” (1776) Summary Essay

According to Adam Smith in this article, the basis of England’s wealth is gold and silver, not in the lands, houses, or resources. He goes on the explain through the article that England has lost it’s focus on the industry of the consumer and concentrated more on the importation of the money they receive from their colonies. The wealth is only considered to consist of gold and silver and, “that those metals could be brought into a country which had no mines only by the balance of trade, or by exporting to a greater value than it imported.” Smith makes the point that England has started “a monopoly against their countrymen,” because the market encourages the industry to import products from foreign countries and place high duties upon them.

This is a nationalistic feeling because Smith is speaking for the people that the market in England is not for the people, but rather against them. It is built for the rich man to make his silver and gold and not for the working class families who survived on “cottage industry” or home-industry. He sees the importance of the difference of economies in the big state, little-state scenario.


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