Autarky and Autarchy


When an economy is closed and does not permit economic transactions with the outside world, the country in question is in a state of autarky. In other words, autarky is the quality of being completely self-sufficient – North Korea is a good example of such a nation.

English: The Tower of Juche Idea was completed...

The Tower of Juche Idea was completed in 1982 to commemorate Kim Il Sung’s 70th birthday. The Juche Idea, the official state ideology, developed by Kim Il Sung, is a blend of Marxism-Leninism and Autarky.

The word autarky comes from the Greek; it means self-sufficiency. The term is sometimes confused with the term autocracy meaning government by single absolute ruler or autarchy. It is not the same as autarky.

Libertarian theorists have used the terms autarchy and autarchism in the sense of self-government to describe his own political philosophy and to distinguish it from anarchism.

Usually the term is applied to political states or their economic systems. Autarky exists (instead of autarchy) whenever an entity can survive or continue its activities without external assistance or international trade. 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. Autarky can be said to be the policy of a state or other entity when it seeks to be self-sufficient as a whole.

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1 thought on “Autarky and Autarchy

  1. North Korea is a poor example, as it is manifestly not self-sufficient. It is dependent on China for commodities of more value than what it exports to China. It’s not even an autarchy, in that it is not fully self-determining – it only appears so because of Chinese [and Russian] indulgence to prevent the worse outcome of a united, capitalist Korea. I think both terms are theoretcally useful in a PPE degree, but without serious practical examples.

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