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Gross National Product

(473 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] The gross national product (GNP) represents the most important statistical measure of a country's production of goods. The official statistics of the EU use the concept of national income. The gross national product includes goods produced by nationals both domestically and abroad. Another frequently used index of production is the gross domestic product (GDP), which measures the goods produced domestically by both nationals and nonnationals. The gross national product can be dete…


(524 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] as income from enterprise activity results from sales after subtracting all costs (including personal use). Profit raises the capacity; losses reduce it. Profits – together with income from non-independent activity (wages [Pay] and salaries), rents, and leases, as well as interest – are part of the national income. In economic theory, the term profit is more narrowly conceived. A distinction is made between management ¶ income, interest on invested capital, risk premium, and economic profit. With personal enterprises, the owner contributes his …

National Accounts

(269 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] (Macroeconomic Accounting). Macroeconomic accounting includes several part-calculations that represent the economy of an entire country or individual states of a federal republic for a certain period. At the center stand the calculation of the production, distribution and exploitation of the Gross National Product (GNP) and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and an account of the redistribution ¶ and wealth-creation processes of a past period. The GDP is regarded as an important measure of production, and the GNP of income. National accou…

Environment Conventions

(295 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] There are many international environmental agreements, indicating the efforts of the international community of nations to preserve nature (Environment/Ecology) in its substance as part of human heritage. In addition to many conventions concerning cross-border damage to the environment, the agreements about widespread and global environmental phenomena that deser…

Full Employment

(231 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] prevails, from the perspective of economics, whenever everyone fit for work who seeks a job for which he or she is qualified at the customary market wage finds a position. Full employment, in this sense, means the absence of involuntary unemploy-¶ ment. Because economic conditions change continuously and work forces exchange jobs and come anew to the labor market, and because matches take time, there is always a certain degree of (frictional) unemployment. This unemployment can be reconciled with full employment. In practical economic policy, there is no legal…


(603 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] Price represents the charge for an item or a service. Market prices are the result of supply and demand. In the different markets, prices are attached to goods, raw materials and energy, wage and salary rates, interest rates, rates of securities and exchange, or rents and leases. The household as consumer compares the price with an item’s usefulness (measured in terms of willingness to pay), and buys it if, to the household, it is worth at least the price paid. The entrepreneur, o…


(2,007 words)

Author(s): Köhler, Ulrich | Niehr, Herbert | Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] I. Religious Studies There are two basic types of interaction between trade and religion: trade growing out of the practice of religion and religious phenomena as by-products of trade. Only in exceptional cases do both have equal weight. Trade can arise from the need for sacrificial offerings, as well as for special vestments and regalia for religious specialists and other officiants, and not least the need to feed participants in religious events. Special foods required by the relig…

Security, Social (Germany)

(510 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] The main pillars of Germany’s social security system are the benefits guaranteeing basic subsistence for the unemployed who are not eligible for unemployment insurance, family support, and statutory social security. As basic security, needy individuals unable to work receive social assistance (formerly called social welfare); needy individuals who are able to work receive unemployment benefit II ¶ (formerly unemployment assistance). These new regulations came into effect on Jan 1, 2005. Because the goal is to ensure a minimum subsistenc…


(324 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] The resources available for providing human beings with goods are scarce. It is impossible to fulfill all desires. It is therefore important to employ raw materials, land, labor, and capital in a way that enables them to provide the maximum prosperity for a country’s population. Goods should be supplied whose nature and quantity match human interests. They should be produced at the minimum cost made possible by the present state of technology. Allocation of scarce resources should…


(428 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] One can protect oneself against the risks of life through personal provision or by acquiring private insurance. Given freedom of choice the individual will decide for the insurance if the costs of covering a certain risk are less than bearing the costs directly. In private insurance, premiums are determined on the basis of risks assessment on the principle of actuarial equivalence. Indemnification payments are based on premium payments, which, in turn, are assessed in terms of the…

Economic Cycle

(542 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] refers to short-term variations in the capacity of the productive potential of the overall economy. Economic development proceeds in waves with upturns and downturns. In an upturn, demand increases rapidly. The capacity of the economy grows. At some point, normal production capacity is attained, but upward forces do not typically become static at this point. …

Environmental Protection

(599 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] is now almost universally recognized as a global necessity demanding the participation of individual states. It has been anchored in German law as a state responsibility since 1994: “The state, in responsibility for future generations, protects the natural foundations for life in the context of the constitutional order.…” (Basic Law, art. 20a). It is a task for p…

Social Security

(700 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] Social security has a long history in Germany. The golden age of social legislation was the end of the Bismarck era. The year 1883 saw the introduction of statutory health insurance, followed by accident insurance in 1884 and disability and old age insurance in 1889 (Security, Social). Social changes associated with the breakdown of the traditional security community of peasants and artisans led to the emergence of a workforce dependent on wages (Pay and reward: II), which ceased …


(1,325 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] I. The natural environment is the living space for human beings, animals and plants. It provides certain life-support systems. Every living being relies on the provision and intake of energy and materials (and information) from the environment. 1. The foundational substances are the environmental media of air, water and ground. The ground is the concurrent biosphere for human being, animal and plant. It is the basis of agriculture, stock farming …

Productivity and Profitability

(267 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] Productivity is determined by relating the quantitative outcome of production to the production factors employed. In partial productivities, the output is related to one production factor (work, capital, resources or energy productivity). In total productivity, the output is related to the sum of applied factors, in each case weighted with factor costs. Marginal productivity means an increase in production output where one factor is raised by a small amount. Productivity indexes a…

Social Safety Net

(605 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] In Germany, anyone who is unemployed, disabled, sick, or care-dependent is supported by a system of various transfer payments. Until 2004 social welfare provided a basic level of security for all the needy, both the disabled and those able to work. The long-term unemployed came under unemployment assistance. Social welfare and unemployment assistance were changed by the social legislation of 2004. Now a distinction is made between the disabled and those able to work. Since Jan 1, …

Tariff Autonomy

(268 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] (Ger. Tarifautonomie: free collective bargaining) means that conditions of employment, including pay scales, are established by the parties to a contract without state intervention. In Germany it is constitutionally protected by the freedom of association guaranteed by Basic Law art. 9; its primary legal embodiment is in the collective bargaining act. Collective agreements can be made between an employers’ association and a trade union (industry-wide contract) or between an employe…

Social Policy

(651 words)

Author(s): Cansier, Dieter
[German Version] A basic function of the liberal state is to enable people to enjoy maximum freedom for the best possible exercise of their opportunities to live self-determined lives. The requirement of free decision also implies freedom from constraints imposed by others in the economic sphere and leads to the system of a market economy. In this system, limits must be placed on the market that facilitate fair and socially just results. The freedom to enter into contracts must not be used as a we…