Thomas Sowell 's Economic History

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Thomas Sowell, in his chapter on economic history, mentions several notable figures that lead the development of economics. Among these figures are a group called the Mercantilists–more prominently Sir James Steuart, as well as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Jean-Baptiste Say, and John Maynard Keynes. While Sowell mentions several other economists, the above are amongst the most notable. The mercantilists were a group most notorious during the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, who wrote several diverse works (Sowell, 2015). One of the more famous works was a treatise written by Sir James Steuart (Sowell, 2015). Sowell (2015) summarizes the mercantilists viewpoint when saying,
The purpose of the mercantilists were not the same as those of modern economists. Mercantilists were concerned with increasing the power of their own respective nations relative to that of other nations. Their goal was not the allocation of scarce resources in a way that would maximize the standard of living of the people at large. (p. 599)
Sowell then continues to make it clear that the mercantilists main goal was to achieve power for themselves, especially in times of war, so that they may win a war should it come about. The mercantilist group contributed to modern economics in several ways, though these ways are not always positive. Sowell (2015), for example, mentions that several of the mercantilist’s theories that later proved to be flawed are still considered to be true by many in “popular
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