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HellenisticCulture and the Rise of Rome (PoliticalEconomy Theory)

Politicaleconomy is a branch of social science, which explains therelationship between trade and laws, and system of government of agiven region. The term is derived from the Greek word polismeaning state and oikonomosmeaning household management. Political economy explains the nationalwealth of a country with regard to the laws and politics. Thisdiscipline was first studied under moral philosophy in the 18thCentury. In the 19thCentury, this study was simply referred to as Economics and was byMachiavelli and Carl Marx who criticized capitalism in Europe. In the20thCentury,Keynes was credited for exploring the modern political economy(Heraclitus&amp Charles, 1981).


Economicsfundamentally addresses scarcity in terms of resources and the mostsustainable way to maximize from them. There are four main types ofeconomic systems adopted by different regions to ensuresustainability of the scarce resources. All the four differentsystems have their implications and therefore a state needs to lookinto its resources to know the most suitable system with regard thelaws and leadership (Boin, 185).

  • Traditional Economic system: In this system, the people’s beliefs and culture define the running of the economy. Subsistence providence is common and barter trade. Most economic systems develop from the traditional economy.

  • Command Economic System: this is also known as the planned economic system. In this system, the central government makes decisions concerning production and allocation of resources.

&nbspMarket,Economic System:the free market or the capitalist system is one in which decisionsinvolving production market forces of demand and supply mainly doinvestment and allocation of resources.

  • Mixed Economic System: this system combines both the market and the command economic systems.

PoliticalEconomy in the Fifth Century B.C.

Philosophicalstudies seeking to explain different phenomena started around 500B.C.-organized systems of trade and economy were not well in orderdue to the recurrent wars. The fall of the tyrants in the 460s Syracuse generated thousands of lawsuits over property causingphilosophers to start teaching the art of rhetoric, which was thenconsidered the highest form of philosophy (Heraclitus&amp Charles, 1981).This shows that accumulation of property was influenced by the powerregimes and this is what is today studied as political economy.Dramatists, philosophers, sculptors, historians, painters, andarchitects were the main talents and forms of economic activities.These talents were then used as resources to push other agendas suchas democracy and other fields of knowledge, which are of relevance upto date (Boin, 170).

Inthe Fifth Century B.C., Athens was developing fast under theleadership of Pericles. With great architectural skills, Athensdeveloped into a powerful state due to its infrastructure. Othereconomic activities, then included Leatherworks, carpentry, mining,painting, and merchant. Plutarch a Greek historian wrote that thesedevelopments were part of the Pericles’ political program andtherefore evidence of the association of politics with economicactivities. The Peloponnesian War in 431B.C. Greatly affected therate of development as it slowed down construction and strained thenations financially (Miller,2004).

Inconclusion, during the, fifth century B.C., we see the concentrationof all great philosophers and other intellectuals in Athens. This canbe highly attributed to the fact that Athens was well developed andwas relatively stable in terms of leadership in creating a conduciveenvironment for the great works. Modern regimes of leadership cantherefore refer from the ancient times, that for a stable economy toexist, the system of political leadership should also be efficient.


Heraclitus,, and Charles H. Kahn.&nbspTheArt and Thought of Heraclitus: An Edition of the

Fragmentswith Translation and Commentary.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. Print.

Miller,Margaret C.&nbspAthensand Persia in the Fifth Century B.c: A Study in Cultural Receptivity.

Cambridge:Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

Boin,Douglas. &quotHellenistic &quotJudaism&quot And The Social OriginsOf The &quotPagan-Christian&quot

Debate.&quot&nbspJournalOf Early Christian Studies&nbsp22.2(2014): 167-196.&nbspAcademicSearch Premier.Web. 25 Nov. 2014.