IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Poverty and subsistence. The Mercantilist point of view

Listed author(s):
  • Cosma Orsi


    (Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI) - Dipartimento di Economia)

Registered author(s):

    The aim of this article is to look at ideas of social welfare in the English political economy from the sixteenth to the early eoghteenth century. In doing so, we shall focus upon the relationship between English Mercantilist economic thought and the evolution of the institutional framework established in order to cope with the problem of poverty and unemployment. In other words, rather than viewing Mercantilism as an ‘exercise in economic nationalism’ we shall inquiry it under the perspective of social policy. Although the most credited assessments of Mercantilism have depicted it as a doctrine which supported a «ruthlessly materialistic ruling class which did not merely neglect but actively exploited the poor», by placing the emphasis on the role played by the allowance system in the overall strategy of poor relief in England throughout the seventeenth century we shall see that during the Mercantilist period social policies were not neglectful of the need of the poor. This reinforces the idea of a social Mercantilism.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Fabrizio Serra Editore, Pisa - Roma in its journal History of Economic Ideas.

    Volume (Year): 21 (2013)
    Issue (Month): 3 ()
    Pages: 11-42

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:hid:journl:v:21:y:2013:3:1:p:11-42
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hid:journl:v:21:y:2013:3:1:p:11-42. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mario Aldo Cedrini)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.