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Economic cycle (circulation process)

(1,158 words)

Author(s): Köster, Roman
1. Concept Modern economic theory uses the term economic cycle first in reference to a particular relationship between consumers and producers or households and businesses, which is characterized by contrary flows of goods and finance. While businesses supply households with goods and services and pay them wages as employers, the consumers supply producers with the production factor of labor and spend their income on the goods and services provided by the producers. This mode…
Date: 2019-10-14

Just price

(1,362 words)

Author(s): Köster, Roman
1. Concept Just price (Latin  iustum pretium) denotes an ethical commercial standard for economic coexistence that has been discussed since antiquity. It was expressed from the Middle Ages onwards in theological and economic theory (see below, 2.) and practical economic policy (see below, 3.). These two dimensions were closely related. Theoretical arguments on the just price tended to address specific economic problems, while conversely measures of economic policy relied for their legitimacy on standards for action formulated by reference to the just price [9. 26].Roman Köste…
Date: 2019-10-14

Capital, accumulation of

(1,372 words)

Author(s): Köster, Roman
1. Concept When they speak of capital accumulation, economists mean the increase of an economy’s capital stock through new investments [10. 9], for example investment in means of production (i.e. machinery, tools, or buildings) and inventory build-up. These can be financed either through savings, i.e. earlier reduction in consumption, or through credit. Historians have primarily discussed the role of capital accumulation in industrialization (see 3. below). Here two perspectives have played a central role: (1) th…
Date: 2019-10-14

Laissez-faire

(772 words)

Author(s): Köster, Roman
1. DefinitionThe maxim laissez-faire probably goes back to a French businessman named Legendre. Asked by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the finance minister of Louis XIV, what would be the best economic policy for the state to follow, he is said to have replied “Laissez-nous faire” (“Leave it to us”) [3. 211]. In 1734 the French writer René d’Argenson used the same formula in his unpublished memoirs and repeated it in 1751 in a contribution to the  Journal œconomique. But the maxim became popular primarily among the physiocrats (Physiocracy) in the form  laissez faire et laissez passer (“L…
Date: 2019-10-14

Impôt unique

(802 words)

Author(s): Köster, Roman
1. Concept and significanceIn tax policy,  impôt unique (“single tax”) denoted the ideal of a single direct tax – that is, the impostion of just one tax – on land, an idea advocated especially in 18th-century French physiocracy. The emergence of this concept was closely associated with the Enlightenment discussion of the state and its relationship to its subjects from the perspective of natural law. Generally speaking, the existing taxes were not based on any explicit concept: among other things, they …
Date: 2019-10-14

Merchant capitalism

(975 words)

Author(s): Köster, Roman
1. DefinitionThe term  merchant capitalism derived originally from the context of Marxist discussion, when Karl Marx himself was not yet using the term  capitalism[3. 442–443]. Its roots are in the contrast between merchant capital and industrial capital. Merchant capital (or trade capitalism) appears in the works of Marx as “the oldest free mode of existence of capital” [2. 337]; its function consisted exclusively in enabling the exchange of goods. In this sense, merchant capitalism can be thought of a transitional stage between feudalism and capitalism, sit…
Date: 2019-10-14

Classical economics

(2,216 words)

Author(s): Plumpe, Werner | Köster, Roman
1. DefinitionThe expression classical economics (or classical  political economics [5. 19–21]), originally coined by Karl Marx, denotes an era of economic thought extending roughly from 1750 to 1850, primarily in the context of the British and French Enlightenment. Its most important protagonists include Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Malthus, Jean Baptiste Say, and John Stuart Mill. The term  classical is meant to indicate that in these authors economic theory in a sense found its classic expression: here were fashioned the concepts and theore…
Date: 2019-10-14

Economy

(6,834 words)

Author(s): Plumpe, Werner | Köster, Roman
1. Introduction 1.1. GeneralBetween the 15th and 19th centuries, the economy – understood as an umbrella term for the material replication of human life and the specific nature of the associated material exchange relationships – underwent a dramatic process of change. This change cannot be reduced to obvious phenomena like the increase in manufactured goods and services and the associated rise in the general level of prosperity, the proliferation of technological knowledge, and the expansion of tra…
Date: 2019-10-14

Economy, political

(6,222 words)

Author(s): Plumpe, Werner | Köster, Roman
1. Definition 1.1. MeaningThe term  political economy has three overlapping meanings:1) As used in Old Europe, the term originally meant the internal economic and social constitution of a systematic order structured and guaranteed by authority;  as yet no distinction was made or even possible between the particular analytic and normative meanings (Oeconomica of Old Europe).2) Subsequently (and in part contrary to this older meaning [45]) the term came to denote the theory of economic relationships and their configuration (actual or potential) at the hand…
Date: 2019-10-14

Economic ethics

(5,069 words)

Author(s): Köster, Roman | Mittag, Achim
1. Europe 1.1. TermThe term economic ethics refers, first, to the attitudes that underlie actions in the individual economy; secondly it describes normative notions of right and just economic activity. The setting of social standards in economic activity does not necessarily coincide with actual practices; divergences give cause for economic-ethical reflection.How a particular economic ethics becomes effective in the economy is evident on the basis of the question of the connection between economic-ethical notions and the relevant economic ord…
Date: 2019-10-14