What Type of Economy Does the United States Have?

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The United States has a mixed economy. It works according to an economic system that features characteristics of both capitalism and socialism. A mixed economic system protects private property and allows a level of economic freedom in the use of capital, but also allows for governments to intervene in economic activities in order to achieve social aims and for the public good.

According to Investopedia.com: "The U.S. government has always played a role in the economic affairs of the nation. Over the course of its history, many services began to come under the influence or direct control of the public sector. During some periods in U.S. history, however, it was closer to a true free marketeconomy, in which the private sector, or individuals, is unfettered in its economic behavior, actions, and decisions.

"A "true" or "absolute" free market economy requires that all property be owned by private individuals and all goods and services be privately provided. Prices are allowed to fluctuate based on supply and demand, and all transactions are voluntary, not compelled or restricted by the government. This system is also referred to as "pure capitalism" or "laissez-faire capitalism."

"Conversely, a mixed economic system has elements of both free markets and centrally planned economic controls by the government. There are several different ways market economies are changed in a mixed economy. Governments might place regulatory restrictions on voluntary transactions in the private market. Private establishments might require government-granted licenses to perform certain activities. Some activities might be banned altogether. Governments might also own public property or provide public services and use tax policy or subsidies to change the price signals in the market. In a mixed economy, some private transactions are allowable but only under conditions subservient to the government's goals."