Mercantilist ideology versus administrative pragmatism: the supply of shipbuilding timber in eighteenth-century Spain
Contractor state
Eighteenth century
Issue Date: 
Rafael Torres-Sánchez (2021) Mercantilist Ideology versus Administrative Pragmatism: The Supply of Shipbuilding Timber in Eighteenth-Century Spain, War & Society, 40:1, 9-24, DOI: 10.1080/07292473.2021.1860320
The mobilisation of resources for warfare has traditionally been analysed as an economic and logistic problem. There are, however, other factors like politics or ideology that might also determine the contractor state’s level of efficiency. Drawing on an investigation of how Spain solved its eighteenth-century shipbuilding timber supply needs, we look at how a given mercantilist-leaning political outlook affected the provision of mater- ial, with the government turning solely to national production and suppli- ers. The aim of this article is to analyse the timber supply policy and, therein, the uneasy alliance of a mercantilist ideology with administrative pragmatism. We conclude from this that the Spanish state’s mercantilist ideas ran like a thread through its supply policies; at the same time, para- doxically, the state was the party responsible for most breaches of this pol- icy. These breaches were usually caused by a growing awareness of the advantage of bringing in foreign contractors. The study of the supply of shipbuilding timber shows that foreign contractors, Dutch and merchants from the Baltic, offered not only lower prices but also greater distribution efficiency, while also helping the state to strengthen its sovereignty and authority. The collaboration between the state and the contractors turned mercantilist ideas, in actual practice, into a mere Utopia.

Files in This Item:
2021.- Mercantilist Ideology versus Administrative Pragmatism The Supply of Shipbuilding Timber in Eighteenth Century Spain.pdf
440 kB
Adobe PDF

Statistics and impact

Items in Dadun are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.