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A common complaint among intellectuals in eighteenth

A common complaint among intellectuals in eighteenth -...

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A common complaint among intellectuals in eighteenth-century Europe was that politics  was too closely tied to economics. For one, serfdom, which kept peasants bound to  disadvantageous feudal contracts, was still prevalent, as was the use of tradition and  class hierarchy for deciding occupations. Probably the most disadvantageous  development was that of mercantilism, a much-touted economic system that  encouraged governments to closely monitor their import-to-export ratio so as to maintain  a favorable balance of trade. Under mercantilism, domineering governments exercised  an extraordinary degree of control over their respective economies. The impetus for change arrived when French economist Fran ç ois Quesnay (1694–1774)  explained in his  Tableau  É conomique  (1758) that a natural order of trade, with limited 
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