Dreams of Order and Freedom: Debating Trade Management in Early 17th Century England
Carlos Eduardo Suprinyak
April 2, 2012
The catharsis produced by the early 1620’s trade crisis had a significant impact on the way economic themes were regarded by public opinion in England. As a result, those who analyze the ideas put forward in the documents written during that period – be they printed pamphlets or official memoranda – are left with the impression that an adequate supply of money was the undisputed primary concern as regards economic administration. However, as already stressed by Barry Supple, monetary administration only occupied a prominent position in the political agenda of early 17th century England during times of crisis – that is, when the kingdom was faced with a perceived threat of demonetization. This paper tries to show that, during the first two decades of the 17th century, concern with an inflow of bullion and a positive balance of trade was only of secondary importance, being normally overshadowed by a more fundamental aim: promoting a well-ordered structure for the economic relations of the kingdom, according to specific views of what constituted proper trade management. This approach encompassed both foreign and domestic activities, and found its most evident manifestation in the debates about free trade and monopolies which permeated the whole of James I’s reign.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: free trade, monopoly, mercantilism, 17th century, Stuart England
JEL Classification: B11working papers series
Date posted: May 23, 2012
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