The argument has been around since EU3 came out - which is better, Mercantilism or Free Trade?
The answer is simple, right? Free Trade is better if you are small, Mercantilism is better if you conquer and own a CoT...
Not quite true. To really understand the value of the sliders, you have to take everything into account.
First, the sliders themselves:
.2 spies, 8% domestic compete chance, 10% Domestic Placement Chance, +4% spy defense per level.
+5% merchant cost per level.
+5% foreign compete chance, +2% TE, +.4 merchants, -5% merchant cost per level
-4% spy defense per level
Next, let's take into account decisions:
- Mining Act
+1 Mercantilism, +5% Global Tax, +6% PE
-0.04 Merchants/yr, -3% Merchant Placement Chance, -3% Compete Chance
Requires Gov 31, at least 1 gold, copper, or iron prov, sheriff advisor, tax assessor in capital, Mercantilism 2+
- Navigation Act
+6% TE, +3% Global Trade Income, +10% Naval Force Limit, +0.5%/year Navy Tradition, +8% Manpower, +5% Foreign Compete Chance
Requires Mercantilism 1+, 40% overseas provinces, NTP, collector advisor
- House of Trade
+1 Mercantilism, +8% Global Trade Income, +5% Global Tax, +0.05 Merchants/yr
+6% Stability Cost, +4% Galley cost, +4% Big Ship cost, +3% Merchant cost, +3% Colonist cost
Requires Latin tech group, 30% overseas provinces, NTP, 50% TE, Mercantilism 1+
- Bank of Amsterdam
-5% inflation, +10% global trade income modifier
Requires NB, Free Trade 2+, Netherlands
- Statute of Monopolies
+1 Free Trade, +3% TE, +3% PE
+5% Stability cost
Requires Free Trade 1+ (but not +5), 1 CoT
Now, Triggered Modifiers:
- Sound Toll
+20% Global Trade Income
Requires Mercantilism 3+, Skane, Fyn, and Sjaelland.
- Bosphorus Sound Toll
+15% Global Trade Income
Requires Mercantilism 3+, Edirne, Bursa, Thrace, and Bithynia
- East Indian trade route
+20% Global Trade Income
Requires less than Free Trade 2, QftNW, Latin tech, discover Cape of Good Hope, 4 ports, either Muscat or Dadra, and an unowned CoT in Dadra, Bihar, Sunda, or Guangzhou.
Finally, Trade Goods:
- Grain (FT 1+):-80% Supply Modifier
- Ivory (Merc 1+):-50% Demand Modifier
- Tea (Merc 1+):-50% Demand Modifier
- Chinaware (Merc 1+):-50% Demand Modifier
- Spices (Merc 1+):-50% Demand Modifier
- Coffee (Merc 1+):-50% Demand Modifier
- Cotton (Merc 1+):-50% Demand Modifier
- Sugar (Merc 1+):-50% Demand Modifier
- Tobacco(Merc 1+):-50% Demand Modifier
Reducing Supply increases prices, reducing demand decreases them.
Now, we'll sum it all up:
At max Mercantilism, with all decisions and triggered modifiers, you have:
1 spy/year, 37% domestic compete chance, 50% domestic placement chance, +20% spy defense, +6 TE, +6% PE, +10% Global Tax, +56% Global Trade Income, +10% Naval Force Limit, +0.5%/year Navy Tradition, +8% Manpower, +2% Foreign Compete Chance, +0.01 Merchants/yr
+25% merchant cost, -0.04 Merchants/yr, -3% Merchant Placement Chance, +.02 infamy/year, +6% Stability Cost, +4% Galley cost, +4% Big Ship cost, +3% Merchant cost, +3% Colonist cost
-50% for many Colonial good prices
At max Free Trade, you have:
[COLOR="Lime"]+25% foreign compete chance, +13% TE, +3% PE, +2 merchant/yr, -25% merchant cost
-20% spy defense per level, +5% Stability cost
+400% Grain prices
(Keep in mind that if you start Free Trade, you can grab Statute of Monopolies before going Mercantilistic.)
Thus, over the long term, Mercantilism wins in HTTT, hands down, once you get the 3 triggered modifiers. The -50% penalty to colonial goods is outpaced by the +56% global trade income modifier. Free Trade is better if you need to kick start trade early (+25% compete chance is equivalent to 50% TE difference)
Keep in mind that you have to leave a CoT unowned (thus no WC), and your colonial goods take a beating. Also, in IN, the Sound Toll requires you to have a Scandinavian primary culture, and the Bosphorus Sound Toll requires Thrace to be unowned and have a CoT. This was one reason why Free Trade was more preferable.
(Feel free to spot check my work and make comments...)