Autarchy (from Greek αὐτάρκεια Autarkeia, self-sufficiency, self-reliance ') in the general sense means that organizational units or ecosystems everything they encrypt or use, produce or produce from its own resources themselves. Self-sufficiency does not provide anything to support life from its own resources as opposed to self-sufficiency.

Autonomous systems are, inter alia, economic units ( economies, economic regions, households) that deals exclusively with their own economic goods (food, raw materials, goods, services, factors of production ), energy ( grid system ) supply and are independent of imports.

The adjective self-sufficient

  • Means self-sufficient and can be found in the philosophy of the Stoics;
  • Ie from the environment independent, self-sufficient, relying on no one. The term is mainly used in biology (see creatures ), computer science, ecology and politics used;
  • As a self-sufficiency policy is defined as the pursuit of a nation after the most extensive self-sufficiency so that they can be and remain independent. Complete self-sufficiency can not be achieved completely, but the striving for self-sufficiency in history is often to be found, inter alia, it is a basic concern of nationalists. So operated inter alia, the German Nazis between 1933 and 1939 self-sufficiency policy, Italy from 1935 to 1943 and India from 1947 to 1991;
  • Is conceptually also used in technical systems, which run independently of other or operated.


As economic theory, the idea of ​​self-sufficiency was mentioned at the beginning of the 19th century by Adam Heinrich Müller and Friedrich List. After 1918 knüpften economists such as Werner Sombart, Robert Friedlander Prechtl or Ferdinand Fried in conscious separation from the economic liberalism of the prewar period to the concept of a coherent national economic space.

Self-sufficiency in the Third Reich

Not least in the experience of the British naval blockade during the First World War was the economic independence of the nation to a fixed point of its policy for Adolf Hitler. This independence should ensure a high standard of living, social equity, but also the military clout. As of 1936, the consistently with the second four-year plan ( VJP ) was implemented under the leadership of Hermann Goering. What could not be established in their own country, had to be replaced by other products. The rest was brought in by swap transactions with foreign countries (mostly South-Eastern Europe and South America). The specifications of the VJP were never completely fulfilled during the Third Reich.

Hitler's intention to attack the Soviet Union to make Germany self-sufficient through the appropriation of grain and ore and oil deposits was divided in leading circles of the Wehrmacht, big business and government bureaucracy of many. His goal was "a blockade -resistant major empire" to the Urals and beyond the Caucasus.

Life in autarky (philosophy)

Self-sufficiency in philosophy means self-sufficiency. According to Aristotle, for a life of self-sufficiency important that one is satisfied with what you can achieve. The path is the goal.

Self-sufficiency of traditional energy sources

The present state of technology permits a vast self-sufficiency of the traditional energy sources such as Gas, oil, coal, wood or similar energy forms. The renewable energy from wind, sun and water gain an ever increasing importance. Thus, for example, load- from photovoltaic, solar panels, small wind turbines and small hydro power plants realize a vast self-sufficiency for single and multi- family houses as well as commercial businesses. The generated power is not supplied to the public power grid, but directly consumed, given to the operators available in electric or thermal equipment storage media for later use. Thus, a self - or self-supply of electricity and heat load realize. The future use of these systems also allows eg the supply of water treatment at places are little or not at all electrified. Another advantage is that these systems are not subject to future laws scarce raw materials such as gas, coal or oil. This is all the just one, because the energy hunger of the world is constantly growing, with increasing industrialization in emerging economies and rising world population.