Set of principles and techniques by which a society decides and organizes the ownership and allocation of economic resources. At one extreme, usually called a free-enterprise system, all resources are privately owned. This system, following Adam Smith, is based on the belief that the common good is maximized when all members of society are allowed to pursue their rational self-interest. At the other extreme, usually called a pure-communist system, all resources are publicly owned. This system, following Karl Marx and Vladimir Ilich Lenin, is based on the belief that public ownership of the means of production and government control of every aspect of the economy are necessary to minimize inequalities of wealth and achieve other agreed-upon social objectives. No nation exemplifies either extreme. As one moves from capitalism through socialism to communism, a greater share of a nation's productive resources is publicly owned and a greater reliance is placed on economic planning. Fascism, more a political than an economic system, is a hybrid; privately owned resources are combined into syndicates and placed at the disposal of a centrally planned state.
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An economic system is a set of methods and standards brought by which a society decides and organizes the ownership and allocation of economic resources. At one extreme, production is carried in a private-enterprise system such that all resources are privately owned. It was described by Adam Smith as frequently promoting a social interest, although only a private interest was intended. At the other extreme, following Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin is what is commonly called a pure-communist system, such that all resources are publicly owned with an intent of minimizing inequalities of wealth among other social objectives.
Alternatively, 'economic system' refers to the organizational arrangements and process through which a society makes its production and consumption decisions. In creating and modifying its economic system, each society chooses among alternative objectives and alternative decision modes. Many objectives may be seen as desirable, like efficiency, growth, liberty, and equality.Part of a social system An economic system can be considered a part of the social system and hierarchically equal to the law system, political system, cultural system, etc. There is often a strong correlation between a certain ideologies, political systems and certain economic systems (for example, consider the meanings of the term "communism"). Many economic systems overlap each other in various areas (for example, the term "mixed economy" can be argued to include elements from various systems). There are also various mutually exclusive hierarchical categorizations.Basic types Economic systems The basic and general economic systems are:
There are several basic and unfinished questions that must be answered in order to resolve the problems of economics satisfactorily. The scarcity problem, for example, requires answers to basic questions, such as: what to produce, how to produce it, and who gets what is produced. An economic system is a way of answering these basic questions, and different economic systems answer them differently.
Oftentimes the primary concern of "hands-on" economic systems is usually egalitarianism, while the primary concern of "hands-off" economic systems is usually private property. Libertarians target individual economic freedom as a primary goal of their "hands-off" policies, though in general, most types of economic systems claim that their system of economic organization is either most efficient or socially effective.
The following list divides the main economic systems into "hands-on" and "hands-off," it attempts to structure the systems in a given section by alphabetical order and in a vertical hierarchy where possible.
An etymologist's approach to economic systems, this list attempts to sort all possible economic systems in alphabetical order, without any division or hierarchization.