The Economic History of the United States

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2. Exploration: The Finding, Founding, and Discovery of the New World

  • Economic History of the United States

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01/08/2010Mark Thornton

Why did people move to the new world? The benefits outweighed the costs. The explorers were driven by the economic philosophy of mercantilism. Government and business partnered to build a nation state. Money was thought to be wealth, but it is not. Government ships, soldiers, and subsidies gave the power of kings behind businesses.

Private explorers (57) and public explorers (35) between 1818 and 1909 tried to find a Northwest passage to Asia, and the magnetic North Pole. These expeditions were more hazardous to the public sector than to the private sector in terms of diseases like scurvy, lives lost, or tonnage lost. Private expeditions were safer and less costly.

Lecture 2 of 9 from Mark Thornton's The Economic History of the United States.

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Mark Thornton is a Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and the book review editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He has authored seven books and is a frequent guest on national radio shows.

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