Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Autarky


What is the dictionary definition of Autarky?

Dictionary Definition

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

Full Definition of Autarky

Autarky defines the state of an economy, which is self-reliant and does not participate in trade, or transact with other economies. Autarky refers to a closed economy, which relies on its own resources and is not affected by influences outside the economy.

The word autarky is of Greek origin and is often confused with the term autarchy, which means self-government.

One of the primary characteristics of autarky is to colonize neighbouring countries to increase their resources. In former ages, autarkies were more prominent than the present time. Italy, under the rule of Mussolini, called itself an autarky although, it continued to trade with Germany. In the present day, North Korea follows a government ideology of Juche or self-sufficiency, which is a form of autarky. However, it is involved in trade transactions with Japan and the People’s Republic of China.

There had been several autarkies in history.

Some notable examples may be mentioned as below:

  • The United States of America after the American Revolution from 1807 December to 1809 March under Thomas Jefferson
  • China from 1950 to 1978 under Mao Zedong
  • Japan during the Edo period in the 1850s traded only with Korea and China. Trade was restricted only to the port of Dejima.
  • Burma under the leadership of Ne Win from 1962 to 1988, known as Burmese Way to Socialism
  • Italy during Mussolini’s reign after invading Abyssinia in 1935
  • Albania in 1976 under Enver Hoxha. Trade barriers lifted after 1991 but trade had started after 1985
  • The Soviet Union during the reign of Stalin
  • Romania under Ceausescu in 1980
  • Spain in Francisco Franco’s reign from 1939 to 1959
  • The United States of America between 1914 and 1945
  • India from 1950 to 1991

Free Trade

Free trade may be defined as an economic system whereby there is a steady and uninterrupted sequence of trading and other commercial activities between two economies. A very important pre-requisite of free trade is the absence of any form of governmental restrictions.

Trade Bloc

In economics, a trade bloc may be defined as a substantial area where free trade practices have been adopted. Trade blocs are normally results of a number of tax, trade and tariff agreements. A major example of a trade bloc is the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Autarky. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd.
August 08, 2022
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Autarky. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: August 08, 2022).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Autarky. Retrieved August 08, 2022
, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Autarky are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 29th March, 2020 | 0 Views.