A Lexicon of economics by Phyllis Deane; Jessica Kuper

By Phyllis Deane; Jessica Kuper

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It is not easy to quantify the significance of the black economy, because this depends largely on what aspects of it are being considered. If one considers only non-declared income and/or hidden production, empirical studies suggest that it amounts to between 20 and 30 per cent of the real national income. The theoretical economists’ explanation of why an individual would choose to participate in the black economy is based on a calculation of expected costs and benefits, rather than on any moral judgements.

Mechanization becomes automation when the human operator is partially or totally replaced by automatic controls. Automation may involve, as general examples, the automatic transfer of materials within a production process; or the automatic 18 AUTOMATION provision of information on the state of a production process and automatic reaction to divergences from pre-set norms; or the collection, processing and transmission of data and information either without, or with only limited, human intervention.

The legislation in the European Economic Community lies between these poles. Under Article 85 of the Treaty of Rome, all agreements and concerted practices restricting competition within the common market are prohibited as ‘incompatible with the common market’, and Article 86 prohibits ‘any abuse by one or more undertakings of a dominant position within the common market…’. At first sight these provisions look similar to the clear rules of law of the Sherman Act and they are enforced by decisions of the European Court.

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