Mercantile financial definition of mercantile
mercantilism (redirected from mercantile)
Also found in: Dictionary
Related to mercantile: mercantile system
, mercantile agent
mercantilism a set of economic ideas and policies that became established in England during the 17th century, accompanying the rise of commercial capitalism. The mercantilists stressed the importance of trade and commerce as the source of the nation's wealth, and advocated policies to increase a nation's wealth and power by encouraging exports and discouraging imports in order to allow the country to amass quantities of GOLD. These protectionist ideas (see PROTECTIONISM) were criticized by later classical economists like Adam SMITH.