Antonio Serra

:"For the Italian comics writer, see Antonio Serra (comics)Antonio Serra was a late 16th century Italian philosopher and economist in the Mercantilist tradition.

Little is known about his life. He was born in Cosenza in the late 16th century. When working in Naples, he applied himself to solving the enormous social and economic problems created by the Spanish viceroy system. In 1613 Serra was jailed due to his involvement in a conjure with the philosopher Tommaso Campanella attempting to free Calabria from the Spanish domination. During the imprisonment he wrote several works including "Città del sole", a treaty which describes an ideal form of republic. His political views were later compared to those of Bacon and Machiavelli.

In his treaty "Breve trattato delle cause che possono far abbondare li regni d’oro e d’argento dove non sono miniere", Serra analysed the causes of the shortage of coin in the Kingdom of Naples and the factors that could have reversed this economic trend. He was the first to analyse and fully understand the concept of balance of trade for both visible goods and invisible services and capital movements. He explained how the shortage of coin in the Kingdom of Naples was due to balance of payments deficit. Using his findings he was able to reject the popular idea at the time that the scarcity in money was due to the exchange rate. The solution to the problem was found in the active encouragement of exports.


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