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ABSTRACTION: Simplifying the complexities of the real world by ignoring (hopefully) unimportant details while doing economic analysis. Abstraction is often criticized because it's, well, it's JUST NOT REALISTIC. However, when done correctly (ignoring things that JUST DON'T MATTER), then the pursuit of knowledge is greatly enhanced by abstraction. For example, when travelling cross country along a high-speed interstate highway, a paper road map is a handy tool. It shows towns and cities along the way, the major intersections, rest stop locations, and other important points of interest. However, it ignores unimportant details. It doesn't realistically show the location of every tree, bush, or blade of grass. Why bother? This information won't enhance your road trip.

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FOURTH ESTATE:

Another term for journalists, reporters, and other members of the media. This is one of four divisions of society based on economic function. The other three are government as the first estate, businesses as the second estate, and consumers as the third estate.
The notion of dividing society into different "estates" has roots in 18th century France, in which clergy and religious leaders were considered the first estate, royalty and aristocracy were the second estate, and peasants, serfs, and the working class were viewed as the third estate. Inventive journalists extended this classification to include themselves as the fourth estate.

The modern estates retain the essence of this division with an update to the realities of the modern economy. Government leaders and politicians, rather than clergy, assume their position in the first estate. Business leaders, rather than royalty, take over rule of the second estate. Rank-and-file consumers and those in the working class make up the third estate. And journalists continue as the fourth estate.

The journalist, reporters, and other media representatives of the fourth estate keep a watchful eye on the doings of the first and second estates and hopefully provide valuable information to the consumers, workers, and taxpayers of the third estate. However, in that news and journalism have become, along with other businesses, a mega-gadzillion dollar industry, many fourth estate watchdogs have become card-carrying members of the second estate (and some even the first estate). As such, some journalists are more concerned with protecting and promoting business and government interests than consumer interests.

Consider the case of Marvin Dunklemeyer, a reporter for the Shady Valley Gazette Tribune Journal. Marvin is eager, rebellious, inquisitive, and highly suspicious. He has conducted investigative reports into the questionable employee health and safety conditions in the Mona Mallard Duct Tape factory, questionable campaign contributions to Mayor Victor Thurgood's most recent election effort, and questionable influence by the OmniBank on the Shady Valley real estate market. Marvin Dunklemeyer is a member of the fourth estate.

<= FOUR-SECTOR, THREE-MARKET CIRCULAR FLOWFOURTH RULE OF COMPETITION =>


Recommended Citation:

FOURTH ESTATE, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2024. [Accessed: May 22, 2024].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | four estates | first estate | second estate | third estate |


Or For A Little Background...

     | public sector | private sector |


And For Further Study...

     | consumer sovereignty | government functions | ownership and control | three questions of allocation | economic system | seven economic rules |


Related Websites (Will Open in New Window)...

     | Society of Professional Journalists |


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