(economics) A prominent economic philosophy in the 16th and 17th centuries that equated the accumulation and possession of gold and other international monetary assets, such as foreign currency reserves, with national wealth. Although this point of view is generally discredited among 20th and 21st century economists and trade policy experts, some contemporary politicians still favor policies designed to create trade “surpluses,” such as import substitution and tariff protection for domestic industries, as essential to national economic strength.

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