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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 periodicals archive ?
Oeconomy is a distributive virtue, and consists not in saving, but in selection.
As the personified life-force, the Archeus is conceived as a benevolent but "most exquisitely sensitive" ruler of the physiological oeconomy, working to protect the body from the hostile forces of the environment; it is a "sentinel which continually watches for the preservation of this citadel.
I seldom ever observ'd a heavy, dull, earthy, clod-pated Clown, much troubled with nervous Disorders, or at least not to any eminent Degree; and I scarce believe the Thing possible, from the animal Oeconomy and the present Laws of Nature.
Another straight definition was that of democrat: "one who maintains the right of the people, an enemy to privileged orders, and all monarchical encroachments, the advocate of peace, oeconomy and reform.
This is a largely insightful and persuasive reading of the play, despite a false note struck at the very end of the chapter that interprets Falstaff's unsuccessful efforts to conceal himself as "evocative of the open secret of female oeconomy, whose looming presence was acknowledged by all except the blind eye of coverture itself" (110).
He and Elizabeth also took up farming, which they continued hopefully for years despite their predictable lack of success: "They kept a Dairy Farm at Sutton," remembered one friend, "had seven milch cows, but they always sold their Butter cheaper than their Neighbours, as they had not the least idea of oeconomy, [so] that they were always behindhand and in arrears with Fortune.
In recounting the episode of Bramble's treatment by Clinker on the beaches at Scarborough, Jery observes that his uncle "has the most extravagant ideas of decency and decorum in the oeconomy of his own person" (July 10, p.
The roots of cost-push doctrine go back at least to Sir James Steuart's 1767 Inquiry into the Principles of Political Oeconomy, a book Lionel Robbins describes as a "sort of compendium of all subsequent anti-quantitative theories of money" (Robbins 1971, p.
Carolus Linnaeus, The Oeconomy of Nature (1751), quoted in DONALD WORSTER, NATURE'S ECONOMY: THE ROOTS OF ECOLOGY 36 (1977).
The disturbing resemblance between this description and descriptions of the middle passage of the slave trade is reinforced by Smollett's later assertion that "such was the oeconomy in some ships, that, rather than be at the trouble of interring the dead, their commanders ordered their men to throw the bodies overboard, many without either ballast or winding-sheet; so that numbers of human carcasses floated in the harbour, until they were devoured by sharks and carrion crows; which afforded no agreeable spectacle to those who survived"(189).
purposely confined the meaning of a general term to a particular acceptation, in order to lead to error, and with a view to conceal the vicious influence of modern oeconomy over the minds of mankind; which influence, if vicious, cannot fail to affect even their political happiness.
Whieldon, 1787) and Bennett Cuthbertson's System for the Compleat Interior Management and Oeconomy of a Battalion of Infantry (Bristol: A.