Hi, wondering what / where / when the distinction is between mercantilism and the capitalist/colonization/imperialism systems?
Mercantilism is when a country purposely wants to make money off of foreign lands. Spanish Conquistadors looking for gold and silver is mercantilism as well as the settling of Jamestown. Colonization comes with some mercantile attempts such as what eventually happened in the 13 Colonies. Mercantilism was the motivation (favorable balance of trade for the mother country!)
Mercantilism precedes Capitalism and was the driving economic force/viewpoint driving initial imperialist movement. The idea is that there’s only so much wealth available in the world, think of it as a Pie. If you (say England) want a bigger slice of the pie, that leaves less for someone else (say France). The goal is a “Favorable balance of trade” meaning you were selling more goods (exporting) than you were buying (importing). Capitalism rolls in and shows that: no no, if we all grow, we all benefit, let’s rock this marketplace!