4 Types Of Economic Systems

There are four primary types of economic systems in the world: traditional, command, market and mixed. Each economy has its strengths and weaknesses, its sub-economies and tendencies, and, of course, a troubled history.

1. Traditional Economic System

A traditional economic system is the best place to start because it is, quite literally, the most traditional and ancient type of economy in the world. There are certain elements of a traditional economy that those in more advanced economies, such as Mixed, would like to see return to prominence.

Where Tradition Is Cherished: Traditional economies still produce products and services that are a direct result of their beliefs, customs, traditions, religions, etc. Vast portions of the world still function under a traditional economic system. These areas tend to be rural, second- or third-world, and closely tied to the land, usually through farming. However, there is an increasingly small population of nomadic peoples, and while their economies are certainly traditional, they often interact with other economies in order to sell, trade, barter, etc.

Advantages And Disadvantages: Certainly one of the most obvious advantages is that tradition and custom is preserved while it is virtually non-existant in market/mixed economies. There is also the fact that each member of a traditional economy has a more specific and pronounced role, and these societies are often very close-knit and socially satisfied. The main disadvantage is that traditional economies do not enjoy the things other economies take for granted: Western medicine, centralized utilities, technology, etc. But as anyone in America can attest, these things do not guarantee happiness, peace, social or, most ironically of all, economic stability.

2. Command Economic System

In terms of economic advancement, the command economic system is the next step up from a traditional economy. This by no means indicates that it is fairer or an exact improvement; there are many things fundamentally wrong with a command economy.

Centralized Control: The most notable feature of a command economy is that a large part of the economic system is controlled by a centralized power; often, a federal government. This kind of economy tends to develop when a country finds itself in possession of a very large amount of valuable resource(s). The government then steps in and regulates the resource(s). Often the government will own everything involved in the industrial process, from the equipment to the facilities.

3. Market Economic System

A market economy is very similar to a free market. The government does not control vital resources, valuable goods or any other major segment of the economy. In this way, organizations run by the people determine how the economy runs, how supply is generated, what demands are necessary, etc.

Capitalism And Socialism: No truly free market economy exists in the world. For example, while America is a capitalist nation, our government still regulates (or attempts to regulate) fair trade, government programs, moral business, monopolies, etc. etc. The advantage to capitalism is you can have an explosive economy that is very well controlled and relatively safe. This would be contrasted to socialism, in which the government (like a command economy) controls and owns the most profitable and vital industries but allows the rest of the market to operate freely; that is, price is allowed to fluctuate freely based on supply and demand.

4. Mixed Economic System

A mixed economic system (also known as a Dual Economy) is just like it sounds (a combination of economic systems), but it primarily refers to a mixture of a market and command economy (for obvious reasons, a traditional economy does not typically mix well). As you can imagine, many variations exist, with some mixed economies being primarily free markets and others being strongly controlled by the government.

Benefits Of A Mixed Economy: In the most common types of mixed economies, the market is more or less free of government ownership except for a few key areas. These areas are usually not the resources that a command economy controls. Instead, as in America, they are the government programs such as education, transportation, USPS, etc. While all of these industries also exist in the private sector in America, this is not always the case for a mixed economy.

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