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Related to economic: economic growth, economist, economic system, Economic development, Economic indicators


The production, trade, and use of goods and services. The economy is the interaction between different actors, such as individuals, companies, and governments, in order to maximize the fulfillment of their needs through the use of scarce resources. The relationship between supply and demand is vitally important to how an economy operates, though economists disagree on exactly how.

There are a number of schools of thought within the study of the economy. Some major schools are classical economics, which considers the sources of production as well as the role of the Invisible Hand of the market, and Marxism, which considers the exploitation of labor by holders of capital. Other, modern schools of thought include Keynesianism, which emphasizes the role of demand as opposed to supply, and monetarism, which promotes the use of the free market and considers the role of money supply in economic growth. See also: Macroeconomics, Microeconomics.


a country defined in terms of the total composition of its economic activities and the ultimate location of economic decision-making.

The total value of goods and services produced in any one year is called the gross domestic product. The contribution made to total output by the various subdivisions of the economy can be split down in various ways: for example, by broad sectors such as the primary sector (agriculture), the industrial sector (including manufacturing) and the tertiary sector (services); or by individual activities (brewing, coal-mining, etc.).

Economic decision-making in the economy may be either highly centralized or decentralized. In a centrally planned economy the State owns the means of production (except labour) and decides what goods and services are to be produced in accordance with a national plan. Resources are allocated between producing units, and final outputs between consumers by the use of physical quotas. At the other extreme, in a private enterprise economy (free market or capitalist economy) the means of production are held by individuals and firms. Economic decision-making is highly decentralized with resources being allocated through a large number of individual goods and services markets. It is the MARKET which synchronizes the decisions of buyers and sellers by establishing market prices which determine how much of a product will be produced and sold. In practice, a large number of countries, including the UK, are mixed economies with some goods and services being provided by private enterprise and others, typically public-utility type products such as postal services and railways, being supplied by the State. The precise mix of private enterprise and State activities to be found in particular countries, however, does vary substantially between the two extremes and is very much influenced by prevailing political ideologies. See INDUSTRY, STRUCTURE OF INDUSTRY, NATIONALIZATION VERSUS PRIVATIZATION.


a country defined in terms of the total and composition of its economic activities. The total value of goods and services produced in an economy in any one year is called GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT (GDP). The contribution made to GDP by the various subdivisions or sectors of the economy can be viewed in a variety of ways: for example, either by broad sectors (the PERSONAL or household SECTOR, the CORPORATE or business SECTOR, the FINANCIAL SECTOR, PUBLIC (GOVERNMENT) SECTOR, the FOREIGN SECTOR), or by individual industries. See STRUCTURE OF INDUSTRY, ECONOMIC SYSTEM.
References in classic literature ?
The first direct attempts of the proletariat to attain its own ends, made in times of universal excitement, when feudal society was being overthrown, these attempts necessarily failed, owing to the then undeveloped state of the proletariat, as well as to the absence of the economic conditions for its emancipation, conditions that had yet to be produced, and could be produced by the impending bourgeois epoch alone.
Since the development of class antagonism keeps even pace with the development of industry, the economic situation, as they find it, does not as yet offer to them the material conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.
At last they gave it up as hopeless, and shook the dust of the shorthand schools, and the polytechnics, and the London School of Economics from their feet for ever.
Such a student, if he be bright, will profit more by an experience like this than he could profit by all the books on sociology and economics that ever were written.
It was Freddie Drummond, irreproachably clothed and comported, seated at his study desk or facing his class in Sociology 17, who saw Bill Totts, and all around Bill Totts, and all around the whole scab and union-labour problem and its relation to the economic welfare of the United States in the struggle for the world market.
Also, his earnings were added to by the royalties from the small sales of his own economic and philosophic works.
What does one want with dusty economic, books, which have made the world no better, or with mother's hideous chiffoniers?
You've read the books, and your economic interpretation of history, as you choose to call it" (this with a sneer), "eminently fits you for an intellectual outlook on life.
He considered a revolution in economic conditions nonsense.
Here she faced the financial and economic problem of keeping house in a society where the cost of living rose faster than the wages of industry.
History is dominated and determined by the tool and the production - by the force of economic conditions.
You must admit," he went on, addressing Razumihin with a shade of triumph and superciliousness--he almost added "young man"--"that there is an advance, or, as they say now, progress in the name of science and economic truth .