1610s, "self-sufficiency," from Gk. autarkeia
, from autarkes
"self-sufficient, having enough, independent of others" (also used of countries), from autos
"self" + arkein
"to ward off, keep off," also "to be strong enough, sufficient," from PIE base *ark-
"to hold, contain, guard" (see arcane
). From a different Gk. source than autarchy
, and thus the spelling. As a term in international economics, prominent late 1930s.