What are 5 Characteristics of Mercantilism?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The Five Characteristics of Mercantilism are to increase a country’s wealth, establish foreign trade, consider commerce and industry to be the most important, large population, and more use of natural resources. The economic policy that is designed to maximize exports and minimize imports for an economy is called Mercantilism. Mercantilists believed that a country’s strength stemmed from its wealth. Hence, they placed a higher value on precious metals such as gold and silver.

Define Mercantilism

Mercantilism is defined in both an economic term and an economic policy. It was designed to both minimize and maximize imports. It promotes government regulation of a nation’s economy to augment the state power at the required expense of rival national powers.

The factors of Mercantilism are political factors, economic factors, scientific factors, and cultural factors. Its objective is to make a country strong. Lastly, nationalism and protectionism exist today as a result of Mercantilism from 1600 to 1800.

Characteristics of Mercantilism

Mercantilism encourages the government to regulate the country’s economy. This Mercantilism reigned supreme in Western countries from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

The five characteristics of Mercantilism are:

  • To increase a country’s wealth by accumulating precious metals such as gold and silver.
  • Establish foreign trade in order to obtain a large quantity of gold and silver.
  • Commerce and industry were regarded as the most important branches of a country.
  • A large population allows for increased productivity and military strength.
  • Utilize natural resources to the greatest extent possible in order to export more and import less.

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