Close this search box.

Table of Contents



Autarky is an economic system where a country or region is self-sufficient and doesn’t rely on imports or exports, instead producing all of its own goods and services. It aims at achieving economic independence and reducing foreign influence. However, true autarky is rare given the global interdependence of economies nowadays.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Autarky” is: aw-tahr-kee.

Key Takeaways

  1. Autarky is an economic system in which a country or entity is self-sufficient and does not rely on international trade. It aims at achieving economic independence and reducing external vulnerabilities.
  2. A country practicing autarky has all the resources required to survive and prosper within its boundaries, and does not require importation of goods or services. However, it may limit the variety and quality of goods available to consumers, and it may not be possible or economic to produce all types of goods within one country.
  3. Autarky is often practiced to some extent during wartime or when a country is isolated by sanctions or other political reasons. However, it is rarely practiced in its pure form in the modern globalized economy due to the benefits of specialization and trade.


Autarky is an important term in business/finance because it refers to a situation in which a country is completely self-sufficient, not requiring any imports from outside nations. This strategy of economic independence is significant in understanding a range of economic policies and theories, as it allows a nation to control its own resources and minimize its dependence on foreign markets. However, it does pose challenges such as lack of diversification and exposure to international trade which can be favourable for economic growth. Therefore, understanding the concept of autarky helps to analyze a country’s economic structure and aid in decision making regarding trade and commerce strategies.


Autarky serves the purpose of promoting economic self-sufficiency within a nation or economic system. By following the principle of autonomy, it concentrates primarily on a self-sustained economy, where a nation produces enough to meet its own demands and reduce dependency on other countries’ resources or goods. This economic strategy is used to fortify national economic activities and shield domestic industries from international competition. An autarkic economy prioritizes domestic production of goods, emphasizes the use of locally produced resources, and aims to completely or partially eliminate international trade. Embracing autarky in an economy often serves the dual purpose of socio-economic protectionism and national security. It has been used during times of war or economic sanctions to ensure the survival and resilience of the economy. Additionally, countries can employ autarky to incubate and protect emerging industries that might initially struggle with international competition. However, relying solely on domestic goods and resources can lead to limited product variety and potential inefficiencies due to lack of competition. Therefore, autarky requires careful planning and strategic thinking for sustainable implementation.


1. North Korea: Arguably, the most comprehensive example of autarky in the modern world is North Korea. The Pyongyang government has pursued a policy of self-reliance and economic independence since the mid-20th century, aiming to produce everything domestically and thus limit its dependence on foreign nations. 2. Albania under Enver Hoxha: During his 40-year rule from the end of World War II to the mid-1980s, Hoxha pursued a radical policy of economic autarky, closing the nation off to foreign trade and investment. This was aimed at building a completely self-sufficient socialist state, though it resulted in significant economic hardships by the end of his rule. 3. Pre-World War II Japan: In the 1930s, in preparation for war, Japan tried to achieve economic self-sufficiency (autarky) through its policies of imperial expansion and colonization in East Asia. It aimed to secure resources and raw materials for its industries to lessen their reliance on imports, especially after facing trade sanctions from the Western countries.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is Autarky in the context of finance and business?
Autarky refers to a self-sufficient economy that does not rely on trade with anyone outside of its borders. The key idea is that such an economy is entirely self-reliant and does not import or export goods or services.
How is Autarky different from an Open Economy?
Unlike an open economy where countries engage in trade, Autarky operates on the principle of self-sufficiency – importing and exporting none or minimal goods and services.
What are some examples of Autarky?
A pure form of Autarky is rare, but North Korea is often cited as an example due to its strict isolation from international trade. In the past, economies of countries like Japan during the Edo period could be considered a form of autarky.
Is Autarky beneficial for a country’s economy?
This depends on a number of factors. Autarky allows a country to be more independent and less vulnerable to international economic fluctuations. However, it often leads to decreased competition and efficiency, resulting in an economy that produces fewer goods and services than it could if it engaged in international trade.
How does Autarky affect global trade?
In pure terms of global economics, autarky of one or more nations can lead to decreased international trade. Since these nations do not import or export goods, the flow of goods, services, and capital across international borders can be limited.
How can a country transition from Autarky to an open economy?
This usually requires governmental reforms that gradually remove trade restrictions and tariffs while promoting foreign trade and investment. The transition often involves difficulties and economic disruptions.
Are there any potential negative effects of Autarky?
Yes, there can be several potential negative impacts. These include reduced domestic competition, less economic efficiency, decreased variety of goods available, and slower technological advancements.

Related Finance Terms

  • Economic Self-sufficiency
  • Import Substitution
  • Trade Barriers
  • Protectionism
  • Domestic Production

Sources for More Information

About Due

Due makes it easier to retire on your terms. We give you a realistic view on exactly where you’re at financially so when you retire you know how much money you’ll get each month. Get started today.

Due Fact-Checking Standards and Processes

To ensure we’re putting out the highest content standards, we sought out the help of certified financial experts and accredited individuals to verify our advice. We also rely on them for the most up to date information and data to make sure our in-depth research has the facts right, for today… Not yesterday. Our financial expert review board allows our readers to not only trust the information they are reading but to act on it as well. Most of our authors are CFP (Certified Financial Planners) or CRPC (Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor) certified and all have college degrees. Learn more about annuities, retirement advice and take the correct steps towards financial freedom and knowing exactly where you stand today. Learn everything about our top-notch financial expert reviews below… Learn More