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August 18, 2022 

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INDEX: A measure of the relative average of a group of items compared to a given base value. Index measures are commonly used in economics to combine and compare diverse measures. One common type of index measure is for prices, such as the Consumer Price Index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average of corporate stock prices. Another noted type of index measure is to track macroeconomic activity, especially the index leading economic indicators. Indexes are usually weighted averages rather than simple arithmetic means that are measured relative to a base value or period. The Consumer Price Index, for example, measures the prices of consumer good, weighted by the quantities purchased. The value of a given period is then stated relative to a base year value, which generates a pure, "unitless" number in the range of 100 (give or take).

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FIRST ESTATE:

Another term for the government or public sector. This is one of four divisions of society based on economic function. The other three are businesses as the second estate, consumers as the third estate, and journalists as the fourth 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.

In past centuries, the first estate included religious leaders and clergy. In modern times, it includes politicians and government leaders who can exert a great deal of control over resources through the coercive powers of government. One historical function of the first estate is to protect the less powerful consumers, taxpayers, and workers of the third estate from the market control typically held by the business leaders of the second estate. It is not uncommon, however, for an unhealthy degree of cooperation between the first and second estates, which often ends up with the enslavement of the third estate (figuratively and literally). At times help is forthcoming from the watchdog journalist of the fourth estate--unless they too have been overtaken by the first two estates.

Consider the case of Victor Thurgood, the honorable Mayor of Shady Valley. Not only is Victor the current Mayor of Shady Valley, duly elected by a majority of voters casting ballots in the most recent election, but at the age of 63 he has never held a nongovernment job. He has been on the Shady Valley city council, served as a state legislator for many years, spent several terms as a member of the U. S. House of Representatives, bounced around as a political appointee to assorted state and federal government agencies, and was most recently Ambassador to the Republic of Northwest Queoldiolia. Moreover, Victor's father, mother, grandfather, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews have had similar employment histories. Victor Thurgood is a member of the first estate.

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Recommended Citation:

FIRST ESTATE, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: August 18, 2022].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | four estates | second estate | third estate | fourth estate |


Or For A Little Background...

     | government functions | public sector | private sector |


And For Further Study...

     | ownership and control | distribution standards | economic system | economic goals | seven economic rules |


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