IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Individual Subsistence: On a Principle of Economy and Society


  • Thieme, Sebastian


With this paper the author tries to clarify the terms of “public“ and “private“ with reference to the ideas of Thomas Hobbes and Johann Heinrich von Thünen. Both scientists showed that the individual's subsistence is very fundamental for a society and – therefore – the base of “public“. Additionally with reference to Polanyi's “Great Transformation“, it will be shown that the mainstream economic idea of “modern“ market economies acts strictly against the individual's subsistence. In contrast to his explanations, the protection of individual subsistence is an important part of solidarity. From that the question of shifting boundaries between “private“ and “public“ is reformulated against the background of the individual's subsistence! This paper gives reasons to think about the individual's subsistence as a neglected economic principle. Hereby it will also provide another and self-critical view from alternative economic perspective to the real question behind the shifting boundaries: Is a change in economic thinking to be expected? The insights into these problems will be especially useful in the prepartory work to discuss political activities in the light of the current economic crisis worldwide.

Suggested Citation

  • Thieme, Sebastian, 2010. "Individual Subsistence: On a Principle of Economy and Society," MPRA Paper 23405, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 21 Jun 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23405

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: original version
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Thieme, Sebastian, 2011. "Economic thinking and ethics: an ethical approach for economical issues," MPRA Paper 34313, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    History of Economic Thoughts; Thomas Hobbes; Johann Heinrich von Thünen; Karl Polanyi; Subsistence; Viablity; Right of Subsistence;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • B59 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Other
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • B00 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - General - - - History of Economic Thought, Methodology, and Heterodox Approaches

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:23405. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joachim Winter) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.