The reasons of the laissez-faire

Vol. 27 No. 1 (2007)

Jan-Mar / 2007
Published March 17, 2020
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))
PDF-Portuguese (Português (Brasil))

How to Cite

Mattos, Laura Valladão de. 2020. “The Reasons of the Laissez-Faire: An Analysis of the Attack to Mercantilism and of the Defense of Economic Liberty in The Wealth of Nations”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 27 (1):108-29.

The reasons of the laissez-faire

an analysis of the attack to mercantilism and of the defense of economic liberty in The Wealth of Nations

Laura Valladão de Mattos
Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP)
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 27 No. 1 (2007), Jan-Mar / 2007, Pages 108-129


The main reasons presented in The Wealth of Nations to advocate the system of economic liberty and reject mercantilism are analyzed. These two systems are evaluated considering basically their impact on the annual product, and the degree of liberty and justice they engender. Based on his views of man and of capital hierarchy, Smith defends the superiority of economic liberty in what concerns the growth of the annual product. This system is also considered superior to mercantilism in terms of justice since it does not privilege any sector of society and allows a great level of liberty to the individuals.

JEL Classification: B12.

Keywords: Adam Smith liberalismo econômico mercantilismo justiça acumulação de capital