England's Treasure by Forraign Trade.London: Printed by J[ohn]. G[rismond]. for Thomas Clark, 1664 Stock Code: 134494
NotesFirst edition of the bible of mercantilism and the first exposition of the theory of the balance of trade. "For those who want to read a single example of mercantilist writing, it is difficult to better Thomas Mun's England's Treasure by Forraign Trade, completed in 1628 and published posthumously in 1664. Adam Smith at any rate regarded it as perfectly representative of a vast body of similar literature: 'The title of Mun's book,' he said, 'became a fundamental maxim in the political economy, not of England only, but of all other commercial countries'" (Blaug.)
Mun made money the passive servant of commodities, following in the wake of commerce to settle accounts of merchants. Money followed goods, and the exchange rate followed money. Money's command over goods gave it value. Mun had a compelling explanation of the dynamics of growth through commercial expansion.
"Mun may be considered as the earliest expositor of what has been called the mercantile system of commercial policy. It was found to be indispensable to the profitable carrying on of the trade to India, and the East generally, that the exportation of gold and silver, which had hitherto been prohibited, should be permitted. But though Mun, in accordance with the prejudices of his time, admitted that the precious metals were the only real wealth a country could possess, he contended that their exportation might be safely allowed, provided the total value of the exports exceeded the total value of the imports; for in that case, said Mun, the balance must be paid in bullion, and our riches will annually increase by that amount!" (McCulloch).
Though well held institutionally, this work has become scarce in commerce; we last handled a copy about 15 years ago.
Octavo (162 x 106 mm). Contemporary unlettered sheep, recently rebacked, blindstamp rule border to covers.
Complete with initial licence leaf and two terminal leaves of bookseller's advertisements.
Skilfully rebacked, front free endpaper reattached, initial leaves with light crease; occasional light spotting and the odd rust mark; a very good copy.
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