DEFINITION of 'Autarky'

A nation or entity that is self-sufficient. A political/economic term, Autarky comes from the Greek autarkeia - autos, meaning "self" and arkein, meaning "to be strong enough or sufficient". Autarky is achieved when an entity, such as a political state, is self-sufficient and exists without external aid.


Autarky is a state of independence. For example, a country that is functional without partaking in any international trade. From an economic view, autarky involving the elimination of foreign trade has proved unsuccessful, and is more of an Utopian ideal.

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