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Mercantilism is the idea that you work to have a positive balance of trade in which exporting goods is encouraged and importing goods from other countries is all but band with the use of high tariffs to help increase the wealth and power of the state, not the individual. In contrast, Adam Smith, who wrote the book "The Wealth of Nations", preached free market values and the idea that everyone should be able to keep what they have earned. He believed that if a person was willing to work more than someone else, that they should get paid for the work they have done, not the lesser work that someone else can do as you would have with Mercantilism since many industries paid everyone the same no matter what your contrition was. The Mercantile need for domestic goods is also what drove the colonization of America; however, when the colonists were being forced to pay the high tariffs and taxes, they rebelled against the ideas and embarrassed the more laissez-faire ideas of Adam Smith. The influences Adam Smith can still be seen in today's American economy. We are an economy based on the principal that anyone can be successful if you just work hard enough and don't give up; something that would never have been possible in the Mercantile system. We have very few government run companies and/or industries today (minus the regulations of course) thanks to the ideas and influence of Adam Smith.Please let me know if you need any clarification. I'm always happy to answer your questions.
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