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La "sagesse pratique" des premiers mercantilistes anglais : l'analyse du change et du commerce extérieur au début du xviie siècle

Listed author(s):
  • DESMEDT, Ludovic

    (LATEC-CEMF - CNRS - Université de Bourgogne)

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    En Angleterre, au début du XVIIe siècle, une crise monétaire et commerciale sévère mobilise les esprits. Divers remèdes sont proposés. Selon Gerard de Malynes, la monnaie est avant tout la mesure des valeurs, et les manipulations financières pervertissent l'instrument monétaire. Le retour à une législation dure s'impose. Voyant là une ingérence dans les affaires marchandes, Edward Misselden lui oppose un outil statistique permettant d'évaluer les situations au cas par cas, de manière à apprécier les situations selon les partenaires commerciaux. Pour Thomas Mun, enfin, chaque mouvement, de biens ou de fonds, obéit nécessairement à l'équilibrage de la balance du commerce et ne saurait être indépendant. Le change ne varie qu'en fonction des résultats dégagés dans les relations commerciales entre pays. Le but suivi ici est de resituer dans le contexte monétaire et financier de l'époque l'apport de ces trois auteurs, et de voir s'ils font preuve de la "sagesse pratique" que Keynes attribue aux mercantilistes. / In seventeenth century England, a severe depression (both monetary and commercial) took place. Some remedies were proposed. For Gerard de Malynes, money was mainly the measure of value and financial manipulations disorganized trade. For him, society must return to a tough legislation. Edward Misselden, who denied such an interference in trading operations, suggested that a statistical approach was appropriate to evaluate every case. Thomas Mun, on his part, argued that every movement of goods or capital was part of the balance of trade. So they couldn't be taken independently and exchange fluctuations were related to foreign trade. I shall try to locate those analyses in the financial and monetary context of those days and determine if they are in accordance with the "practical wisdom" Keynes attributed to mercantilists.

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    Paper provided by LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne in its series LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) with number 1998-08.

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    Length: 21 pages
    Date of creation: Jul 1998
    Handle: RePEc:lat:lateco:1998-08
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    1. Alain Béraud & Gilbert Faccarello, 2000. "Nouvelle Histoire de la Pensée Economique, tome 2," Post-Print halshs-00201474, HAL.
    2. J. D. Gould, 1954. "THE TRADE DEPRESSION OF THE EARLY 1620's," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 7(1), pages 81-90, August.
    3. Gould, J. D., 1955. "The Trade Crisis of the Early 1620's and English Economic Thought," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(02), pages 121-133, June.
    4. R. W. K. Hinton, 1955. "The Mercantile System In The Time Of Thomas Mun," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 7(3), pages 277-290, April.
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