The survival of Aristotelianism in early English mercantilism

An illustration from the debate between Malynes and Misselden


  • Joost W. Hengstmengel Tilburg University, The Netherlands



Aristotle, Aristotelianism, mercantilism, Malynes, Misselden


Handbooks of the history of economic thought typically assume a strict fault line between scholastic economics and mercantilism. Historically, the distinction between the two streams of thought was less evident—especially when it came to the style of argumentation, in which there is much continuity between the scholastic doctors and early mercantilists. However, although the latter did not employ the scholastic method, both traditions frequently called upon classical authorities to strengthen their arguments. What is striking is the high regard for Aristotle among the late-sixteenth and early-seventeenth century English mercantilists. By way of illustration, this article reviews the surprising role of Aristotelian ideas, primarily from the Metaphysics and Physics, within the debate between Gerard Malynes and Edward Misselden on England’s economics crisis.

Author Biography

Joost W. Hengstmengel, Tilburg University, The Netherlands

Joost W. Hengstmengel is a post-doctoral researcher at the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, Tilburg University, the Netherlands. In 2015 he completed his PhD thesis Divine oeconomy: the role of Providence in early-modern economic thought before Adam Smith. His research interests include the history of pre-modern economic thought and the relationship between economics and theology.




How to Cite

Hengstmengel, J. W. (2017). The survival of Aristotelianism in early English mercantilism: An illustration from the debate between Malynes and Misselden. Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, 10(1), 64–82.