Definitions of Political Economy
"[a] branch of social science which later developed into economics, concerned with the raising of revenue by the state and the increase of the state's general resources. The term was introduced about the beginning of the 17th century to describe the study of the problems of the princely states. Adam Smith, the first to present a comprehensive systematized study, seemed to equate political economy with 'the treatment of the nature and causes of the wealth of nations.'The term economics replaced political economy in general usage during the 20th century." The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 9, p. 564.
"The name given to economics in the late 18th-c and early 19th c. The term has not been much used in the present century, apart from in professorial titles, reflecting the fact that the scope of economics is today much wider, dealing with many more issues than national economic affairs and the role of government. The name does however indicate that economics is not an exact science, but a social science which often has to take into account 'political considerations." The Cambridge Encyclopedia, Cambridge University Press, p. 958 (1990).
"1: an 18th century branch of the art of government concerned with directing governmental policies toward the promotion of the wealth of the government and the community as a whole 2 a: a 19th century social science comprising the modern science of economics but concerned principally with governmental as contrasted with commercial or personal economics b: a modern social science dealing with the interrelationship of political and economic processes" Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, Vol II, p. 1755 (1993).
"originally the art or practical science of managing the resources of a nation so as to increase its material prosperity; in more recent use, the theoretical science dealing with the laws that regulate the production and distribution of wealth." The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d ed. (1989) (Vol V, p. 60).