Mun, Thomas

Mun, Thomas

(mŭn), 1571–1641, English writer on economics. A merchant in Italy and the Levant, he became (1615) a director in the East India Company. In his Discourse of Trade from England unto the East Indies (1621) he refuted claims that the company reduced the amount of bullion in England by exporting too much of it to India. He further defined his theory of the balance of trade in Discourse on England's Treasure by Foreign Trade (written 1630; pub. 1664).


See E. A. J. Johnson, Predecessors of Adam Smith: The Growth of British Economic Thought (1937).

Mun, Thomas


Born 1571; died 1641. English economist and representative of the late mercantilist school. Member of the board of the East India Company and of the government’s standing commission on trade.

In his England’s Treasure by Forraigne Trade, published in 1664, Mun explained and defended the concept of a favorable balance of trade, thus reflecting the interests of the commercial bourgeoisie during the period of the primitive accumulation of capital. K. Marx characterized Mun’s work as an epoch-making achievement that became the gospel of mercantilism (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 20, pp. 240–41).

Like all mercantilists, Mun equated wealth with money, but he rejected the system requiring a directly favorable balance of specie (bullion). He considered it necessary instead to increase the supply of specie by an excess of exports over imports, placing great emphasis on intermediary trade. In this regard, Mun viewed money not only as precious metal, as early mercantilists typically did, but also as a means of circulation and as capital. Mun was the forefather of the quantity theory of money.


Merkantilizm (a collection). Leningrad, 1935. Pages 109–39, 158–83.
Mordukhovich, L. M. Ocherki istorii ekonomicheskikh uchenii. Moscow, 1957. Chapter 4.
Istoriia ekonomicheskoi mysli, pt. 1. [Moscow] 1961. Pages 182–83.