The term ‘political economy’ refers to the study which focuses on production and trade, as well as their relations with the law, government and custom. Additionally, the discipline deals with the relationships between trade and production and the distribution of national income and social wealth.
Political economy, as a discipline, has become important in the 18th century as part of moral philosophy. It was used to explore the administration of the wealth of the countries. Instead, the early works of political economy are associated with the British scholars Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Thomas Malthus.
Over the 19th century, the term political economy has been substituted with the term ‘economics’. This passage is due to the development of the mathematical modelling which coincided with the publication of an influential book by Marshall in 1890.
When the term ‘political economy’ is not used a synonym for economics, it may refer to different concepts. It can either indicate the Marxian economics or to the suggestions which economists provide to the government.
Currently, the discipline refers to the interdisciplinary studies based on economics, sociology and political sciences. These studies indicate how political institutions, the political environment and the economic system such as capitalist, socialist and communist influence each other.
There are several disciplines which are related to this subject as political economy is not a unified discipline. These fields include politics, philosophy, economics, sociology, archaeology, anthropology, psychology, history, ecology, cultural studies and communications.
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