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The Collaborative International Dictionary

autarky \autarky\ n. economic independence as a national policy.

Syn: autarchy.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1610s, "self-sufficiency," from Greek autarkeia "sufficiency in oneself, independence," from autarkes "self-sufficient, having enough, independent of others" (also used of countries), from autos "self" (see auto-) + arkein "to ward off, keep off," also "to be strong enough, sufficient," from PIE root *ark- "to hold, contain, guard" (see arcane). From a different Greek source than autarchy, and thus the spelling. As a term in international economics, prominent late 1930s. Related: Autarkic.


n. 1 National economic self-sufficiency. 2 The state of personal self-sufficiency. 3 An enclosed ecosystem.


n. economic independence as a national policy [syn: autarchy]


Autarky is the quality of being self-sufficient. Usually the term is applied to political states or their economic systems. Autarky exists whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance or international trade. If a self-sufficient economy also refuses all trade with the outside world then it is called a closed economy.

Autarky is not necessarily an economic phenomenon; for example, a military autarky would be a state that could defend itself without help from another country, or could manufacture all of its weapons without any imports from the outside world.

Autarky can be said to be the policy of a state or other entity when it seeks to be self-sufficient as a whole, but also can be limited to a narrow field such as possession of a key raw material. For example, many countries have a policy of autarky with respect to foodstuffs and water for national security reasons.

Usage examples of "autarky".

The sequence is not from crime to self-incarceration, but the converse for from the latter arises the attempt to ensure the strength and autarky of the solitary personality an attempt which, on the plane of external events, expresses itself as a crime.