There are four main types of economies in today’s world.

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 a return to prominence.

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. Note that 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.

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. Learn more about an essential part of our economy with this free post on understanding the stock market.

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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