Month: November 2014

Mercantilism

Mercantilism is a type of trade and manufacturing system that was employed by almost all the kingdoms in Europe roughly from the 16th to 18th centuries. In some countries it was more strongly applied than in others, but all countries had the same basis: control.

Mercantilism was the opposite of a free market. The two had very different mindsets. Mercantilists thought of a pie. One merchant or another could get a bigger piece than the other. For free marketists, the pie could get bigger, thus everyone can get a bigger piece.

Most countries were focused on exporting, not importing. When a country exports goods, it means that it ships its own goods internationally. Thus, other countries buy their goods and the money comes in. When a country imports, it receives goods from other countries. Thus, this country buys other countries’ goods and the money goes out.

Let’s make a character and go through his day. Continue reading

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The Decline of Spain

The Decline of Spain took place roughly from 1595 to 1665. It was a mess of political strife, economic disaster and financial catastrophe. Disaster and civil war came a hair’s breadth to starting.

Foremost, there was trouble coming from the north. France’s Prime Minister, Cardinal Richelieu, was trying to cause Spain all the trouble he could. An old enmity resided between these two countries. The Hapsburg family was in Spain, and France hated the Hapsburgs.

Meanwhile, Spain’s source of revenue was slowing to a halt. Gold from the New World was becoming scarce.

Plague raged through the cities throwing many people into panic.

Wars going on with Spain against the Netherlands and against France caused huge holes in the pockets of the people and the government. Financially, many people were very badly off.

Philip III (r.1598-1621) was a weak king. He was also extravagant. He felt unfit to rule the kingdom, so he handed the power, unofficially, to the Duke of Lerma. The first move the Duke made was to expel the Moriscos out of Spain. The Moriscos were Muslims who had converted to Christianity. They were the main mercantilists in Spain. Thus, when the Duke expelled them and gave them three days to get out of the country, economic status was thrown into disarray. Continue reading

John Locke

John Locke was an English philosopher who lived from 1632 to 1704 AD. He wrote and discussed his views of anti-absolutism—meaning no absolute government or monarchy.

Locke believes in the state of nature. This state of nature, he claims, is ideal. In his state of nature there is no government. If there is no government there are no taxes, no oppression. People have their own rights. Total rights.   Continue reading