Duarte Ribeiro de Macedo was the Portuguese Ambassador to France from 1668 to 1676.
In the short tract contained within the covers of this book de Macedo reveals not only what the mercantilist system consisted of in the early modern period but also his hope that his countrymen could follow the rest of early modern Europe in its implementation.
However, as Dr. Irvin points out in his short introduction to this volume, Macedo was too optimistic. He did not understand that his countrymen, especially the nobility of the country, preferred to maintain their seignorial privileges at the expense of the country’s economic and political future. It is for this reason that Portgual was never able to become a modern mercantilist country, and why they were eventually victimized by the world-capitalist system in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Even today the wisdom of de Macedo’s advice seems timely in a world awash in economic globalization and socioeconomic dislocation. We ignore him at our peril.
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