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An economic system, or economic order,is a system of production, resource allocation and distribution of goods and services within a society or a given geographic area. It includes the combination of the various institutions, agencies, entities, decision-making processes and patterns of consumption that comprise the economic structure of a given community.
An economic system is a type of social system. The mode of production is a related concept.All economic systems must confront and solve the four fundamental economic problems:
The study of economic systems includes how these various agencies and institutions are linked to one another, how information flows between them, and the social relations within the system (including property rights and the structure of management). The analysis of economic systems traditionally focused on the dichotomies and comparisons between market economies and planned economies and on the distinctions between capitalism and socialism.Subsequently, the categorization of economic systems expanded to include other topics and models that do not conform to the traditional dichotomy.
Today the dominant form of economic organization at the world level is based on market-oriented mixed economies.An economic system can be considered a part of the social system and hierarchically equal to the law system, political system, cultural and so on. There is often a strong correlation between 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.
Economic systems is the category in the Journal of Economic Literature classification codes that includes the study of such systems. One field that cuts across them is comparative economic systems, which includes the study of the following aspects of different systems:
Capitalism generally features the private ownership of the means of production (capital) and a market economy for coordination. Corporate capitalism refers to a capitalist marketplace characterized by the dominance of hierarchical, bureaucratic corporations.
Mercantilism was the dominant model in Western Europe from the 16th to 18th century. This encouraged imperialism and colonialism until economic and political changes resulted in global decolonization. Modern capitalism has favored free trade to take advantage of increased efficiency due to national comparative advantage and economies of scale in a larger, more universal market. Some critics[ who? ] have applied the term neo-colonialism to the power imbalance between multi-national corporations operating in a free market vs. seemingly impoverished people in developing countries.
There is no precise definition of a "mixed economy". Theoretically, it may refer to an economic system that combines one of three characteristics: public and private ownership of industry, market-based allocation with economic planning, or free markets with state interventionism.
In practice, "mixed economy" generally refers to market economies with substantial state interventionism and/or sizable public sector alongside a dominant private sector. Actually, mixed economies gravitate more heavily to one end of the spectrum. Notable economic models and theories that have been described as a "mixed economy" include the following:
Socialist economic systems (all of which feature social ownership of the means of production) can be subdivided by their coordinating mechanism (planning and markets) into planned socialist and market socialist systems. Additionally, socialism can be divided based on their property structures between those that are based on public ownership, worker or consumer cooperatives and common ownership (i.e. non-ownership). Communism is a hypothetical stage of socialist development articulated by Karl Marx as "second stage socialism" in Critique of the Gotha Program , whereby the economic output is distributed based on need and not simply on the basis of labor contribution.
The original conception of socialism involved the substitution of money as a unit of calculation and monetary prices as a whole with calculation in kind (or a valuation based on natural units), with business and financial decisions replaced by engineering and technical criteria for managing the economy. Fundamentally, this meant that socialism would operate under different economic dynamics than those of capitalism and the price system.Later models of socialism developed by neoclassical economists (most notably Oskar Lange and Abba Lerner) were based on the use of notional prices derived from a trial-and-error approach to achieve market clearing prices on the part of a planning agency. These models of socialism were called "market socialism" because they included a role for markets, money, and prices.
The primary emphasis of socialist planned economies is to coordinate production to produce economic output to directly satisfy economic demand as opposed to the indirect mechanism of the profit system where satisfying needs is subordinate to the pursuit of profit; and to advance the productive forces of the economy in a more efficient manner while being immune to the perceived systemic inefficiencies (cyclical processes) and crisis of overproduction so that production would be subject to the needs of society as opposed to being ordered around capital accumulation.
In a pure socialist planned economy that involves different processes of resource allocation, production and means of quantifying value, the use of money would be replaced with a different measure of value and accounting tool that would embody more accurate information about an object or resource. In practice, the economic system of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc operated as a command economy, featuring a combination of state-owned enterprises and central planning using the material balances method. The extent to which these economic systems achieved socialism or represented a viable alternative to capitalism is subject to debate.
In orthodox Marxism, the mode of production is tantamount to the subject of this article, determining with a superstructure of relations the entirety of a given culture or stage of human development.
There are multiple components of an economic system. Decision-making structures of an economy determine the use of economic inputs (the factors of production), distribution of output, the level of centralization in decision-making and who makes these decisions. Decisions might be carried out by industrial councils, by a government agency, or by private owners.
An economic system is a system of production, resource allocation, exchange and distribution of goods and services in a society or a given geographic area. In one view, every economic system represents an attempt to solve three fundamental and interdependent problems:
Every economy is thus a system that allocates resources for exchange, production, distribution and consumption. The system is stabilized through a combination of threat and trust, which are the outcome of institutional arrangements.
An economic system possesses the following institutions:
There are several basic questions that must be answered in order for an economy to run 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. Many different objectives may be seen as desirable for an economy, like efficiency, growth, liberty and equality.
Economic systems are commonly segmented by their property rights regime for the means of production and by their dominant resource allocation mechanism. Economies that combine private ownership with market allocation are called "market capitalism" and economies that combine private ownership with economic planning are labelled "command capitalism" or dirigisme. Likewise, systems that mix public or cooperative ownership of the means of production with economic planning are called "socialist planned economies" and systems that combine public or cooperative ownership with markets are called "market socialism".Some perspectives build upon this basic nomenclature to take other variables into account, such as class processes within an economy. This leads some economists to categorize, for example, the Soviet Union's economy as state capitalism based on the analysis that the working class was exploited by the party leadership. Instead of looking at nominal ownership, this perspective takes into account the organizational form within economic enterprises.
In a capitalist economic system, production is carried out for private profit and decisions regarding investment and allocation of factor inputs are determined by business owners in factor markets. The means of production are primarily owned by private enterprises and decisions regarding production and investment are determined by private owners in capital markets. Capitalist systems range from laissez-faire , with minimal government regulation and state enterprise, to regulated and social market systems, with the aims of ameliorating market failures (see economic intervention) or supplementing the private marketplace with social policies to promote equal opportunities (see welfare state), respectively.
In socialist economic systems (socialism), production for use is carried out; decisions regarding the use of the means of production are adjusted to satisfy economic demand; and investment is determined through economic planning procedures. There is a wide range of proposed planning procedures and ownership structures for socialist systems, with the common feature among them being the social ownership of the means of production. This might take the form of public ownership by all of the society, or ownership cooperatively by their employees. A socialist economic system that features social ownership, but that it is based on the process of capital accumulation and utilization of capital markets for the allocation of capital goods between socially owned enterprises falls under the subcategory of market socialism.
The basic and general "modern" economic systems segmented by the criterium of resource allocation mechanism are:
Various strains of anarchism and libertarianism advocate different economic systems, all of which have very small or no government involvement. These include:
Corporatism refers to economic tripartite involving negotiations between business, labor and state interest groups to establish economic policy, or more generally to assigning people to political groups based on their occupational affiliation.
Certain subsets of an economy, or the particular goods, services, techniques of production, or moral rules can also be described as an "economy". For example, some terms emphasize specific sectors or externalizes:
Others emphasize a particular religion:
The type of labour power:
Or the means of production:
Karl Marx's theory of economic development was based on the premise of evolving economic systems. Specifically, in his view over the course of history superior economic systems would replace inferior ones. Inferior systems were beset by internal contradictions and inefficiencies that would make it impossible for them to survive long-term. In Marx's scheme, feudalism was replaced by capitalism, which would eventually be superseded by socialism.Joseph Schumpeter had an evolutionary conception of economic development, but unlike Marx he de-emphasized the role of class struggle in contributing to qualitative change in the economic mode of production. In subsequent world history, many communist states run according to Marxist–Leninist ideologies arose during the 20th century, but by the 1990s they had either ceased to exist or gradually reformed their centrally planned economies toward market-based economies, for example with perestroika and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Chinese economic reform and Đổi Mới in Vietnam.
Mainstream evolutionary economics continues to study economic change in modern times. There has also been renewed interest in understanding economic systems as evolutionary systems in the emerging field of complexity economics.
A planned economy is a type of economic system where investment, production and the allocation of capital goods takes place according to economy-wide economic plans and production plans. A planned economy may use centralized, decentralized, participatory or Soviet-type forms of economic planning. The level of centralization or decentralization in decision-making and participation depends on the specific type of planning mechanism employed.
The economic calculation problem is a criticism of using economic planning as a substitute for market-based allocation of the factors of production. It was first proposed by Ludwig von Mises in his 1920 article "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth" and later expanded upon by Friedrich Hayek.
In economics, a free market is a system in which the prices for goods and services are self-regulated by buyers and sellers negotiating in an open market. In a free market, the laws and forces of supply and demand are free from any intervention by a government or other authority, and from all forms of economic privilege, monopolies and artificial scarcities. Proponents of the concept of free market contrast it with a regulated market in which a government intervenes in supply and demand through various methods such as tariffs used to restrict trade and to protect the local economy. In an idealized free-market economy, also called a liberal market economy, prices for goods and services are set freely by the forces of supply and demand and are allowed to reach their point of equilibrium without intervention by government policy.
A market economy is an economic system in which the decisions regarding investment, production and distribution are guided by the price signals created by the forces of supply and demand. The major characteristic of a market economy is the existence of factor markets that play a dominant role in the allocation of capital and the factors of production.
A mixed economy is variously defined as an economic system blending elements of a market economy with elements of a planned economy, markets with state interventionism, or private enterprise with public enterprise. Common to all mixed economies is a combination of free-market principles and principles of socialism. While there is no single definition of a mixed economy, one definition is about a mixture of markets with state interventionism, referring specifically to a capitalist market economy with strong regulatory oversight and extensive interventions into markets. Another is that of active collaboration of capitalist and socialist visions. Yet another definition is apolitical in nature, strictly referring to an economy containing a mixture of private enterprise with public enterprise. Alternatively, a mixed economy can refer to a reformist transitionary phase to a socialist economy that allows a substantial role for private enterprise and contracting within a dominant economic framework of public ownership. This can extend to a Soviet-type planned economy that has been reformed to incorporate a greater role for markets in the allocation of factors of production.
Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property by non-governmental legal entities. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which is owned by a state entity, and from collective or cooperative property, which is owned by a group of non-governmental entities. The distinction between private and personal property varies depending on political philosophy, with socialist perspectives making a hard distinction between the two, while others blend the two together. As a legal concept, private property is defined and enforced by a country's political system.
State ownership, also called government ownership and public ownership, is the ownership of an industry, asset, or enterprise by the state or a public body representing a community as opposed to an individual or private party. Public ownership specifically refers to industries selling goods and services to consumers and differs from public goods and government services financed out of a government's general budget. Public ownership can take place at the national, regional, local, or municipal levels of government; or can refer to non-governmental public ownership vested in autonomous public enterprises. Public ownership is one of the three major forms of property ownership, differentiated from private, collective/cooperative, and common ownership.
In economics, a price system is a system that uses prices expressed in any form of money for the valuation and distribution of goods and services and the factors of production. Except for more economically isolated communities, all modern societies use price systems to allocate resources, although price systems are not used exclusively for all resource allocation decisions.
Criticism of socialism is any critique of socialist models of economic organization and their feasibility as well as the political and social implications of adopting such a system. Some critiques are not directed toward socialism as a system, but rather toward the socialist movement, parties or existing states. Some critics consider socialism to be a purely theoretical concept that should be criticized on theoretical grounds while others hold that certain historical examples exist and that they can be criticized on practical grounds. Because there are many models of socialism, most critiques are focused on a specific type of socialism and the experience of Soviet-type economies that may not apply to all forms of socialism as different models of socialism conflict with each other over questions of property ownership, economic coordination and how socialism is to be achieved. Critics of specific models of socialism might be advocates of a different type of socialism.
Post-capitalism is a state in which the economic systems of the world can no longer be described as forms of capitalism. Various individuals and political ideologies have speculated on what would define such a world. According to some classical Marxist and some social evolutionary theories, post-capitalist societies may come about as a result of spontaneous evolution as capitalism becomes obsolete. Others propose models to intentionally replace capitalism. The most notable among them are socialism, anarchism, and degrowth.
The Lange model is a neoclassical economic model for a hypothetical socialist economy based on public ownership of the means of production and a trial-and-error approach to determining output targets and achieving economic equilibrium and Pareto efficiency. In this model, the state owns non-labor factors of production, and markets allocate final goods and consumer goods. The Lange model states that if all production is performed by a public body such as the state, and there is a functioning price mechanism, this economy will be Pareto-efficient, like a hypothetical market economy under perfect competition. Unlike models of capitalism, the Lange model is based on direct allocation, by directing enterprise managers to set price equal to marginal cost in order to achieve Pareto efficiency. By contrast, in a capitalist economy managers are instructed to maximize profits for private owners, while competitive pressures are relied on to indirectly lower the price to equal marginal cost.
Economic planning is a resource allocation mechanism based on a computational procedure for solving a constrained maximization problem with an iterative process for obtaining its solution. Planning is a mechanism for the allocation of resources between and within organizations contrasted with the market mechanism. As an allocation mechanism for socialism, economic planning replaces factor markets with a procedure for direct allocations of resources within an interconnected group of socially owned organizations which together comprise the productive apparatus of the economy.
An economic ideology is a set of views forming the basis of an ideology on how the economy should run. It differentiates itself from economic theory in being normative rather than just explanatory in its approach, whereas the aim of economic theories is to create accurate explanatory models to describe how an economy currently functions. However, the two are closely interrelated, as underlying economic ideology influences the methodology and theory employed in analysis. The diverse ideology and methodology of the 74 Nobel laureates in economics speaks to such interrelation.
Production for use is a phrase referring to the principle of economic organization and production taken as a defining criterion for a socialist economy. It is held in contrast to production for profit. This criterion is used to distinguish communism from capitalism, and one of the fundamental defining characteristics of communism.
The socialist mode of production, also referred to as the communist mode of production, the lower-stage of communism or simply socialism as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels used the terms communism and socialism interchangeably, is a specific historical phase of economic development and its corresponding set of social relations that emerge from capitalism in the schema of historical materialism within Marxist theory. The Marxist definition of socialism is that of an economic transition. In this transition, the sole criterion for production is use-value, therefore the law of value no longer directs economic activity. Marxist production for use is coordinated through conscious economic planning. Distribution of products is based on the principle of "to each according to his contribution". The social relations of socialism are characterized by the proletariat effectively controlling the means of production, either through cooperative enterprises or by public ownership or private artisanal tools and self-management. Surplus value goes to the working class and hence society as a whole.
Social ownership is a term, used mainly in discussions regarding socialism, which can refer to public or government ownership of the means of production, community ownership, a mix of the aforementioned, or/and to a type of ownership whereby the object owned is used in the interest of society, while also the decisions regarding the way the object will be used, are under the control of society. According to Włodzimierz Brus, a predominance of social ownership of the means of production is the defining characteristic of a socialist economic system. Defined another way, nobody in particular owns the means of production, rather, as Michael Albert puts it, "each workplace would be owned in equal part by all citizens...so that ownership has no bearing on the distribution of income, wealth or power.” Social ownership can take the form of state ownership, common ownership, employee ownership, cooperative ownership, and citizen ownership of equity. Traditionally, social ownership implied that capital and factor markets would cease to exist under the assumption that market exchanges within the production process would be made redundant if capital goods were owned and integrated by a single entity or network of entities representing society; but the articulation of models of market socialism where factor markets are utilized for allocating capital goods between socially owned enterprises broadened the definition to include autonomous entities within a market economy. Social ownership of the means of production is the common defining characteristic of all the various forms of socialism.
Market socialism is a type of economic system involving the public, cooperative, or social ownership of the means of production in the framework of a market economy, or one that contains a mix of worker-owned, nationalized, and privately owned enterprises. Market socialism differs from non-market socialism in that the market mechanism is utilized for the allocation of capital goods and the means of production. Depending on the specific model of market socialism, profits generated by socially owned firms may variously be used to directly remunerate employees, accrue to society at large as the source of public finance, or be distributed amongst the population in a social dividend.
Socialist economics comprises the economic theories, practices and norms of hypothetical and existing socialist economic systems. A socialist economic system is characterized by social ownership and operation of the means of production that may take the form of autonomous cooperatives or direct public ownership wherein production is carried out directly for use rather than for profit. Socialist systems that utilize markets for allocating capital goods and factors of production among economic units are designated market socialism. When planning is utilized, the economic system is designated as a socialist planned economy. Non-market forms of socialism usually include a system of accounting based on calculation-in-kind to value resources and goods.
The socialist calculation debate, sometimes known as the economic calculation debate, was a discourse on the subject of how a socialist economy would perform economic calculation given the absence of the law of value, money, financial prices for capital goods and private ownership of the means of production. More specifically, the debate was centered on the application of economic planning for the allocation of the means of production as a substitute for capital markets and whether or not such an arrangement would be superior to capitalism in terms of efficiency and productivity.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to socialism, a range of economic and social systems characterised by social ownership of the means of production and workers' self-management as well as the political theories and movements associated with them.
Economic system – A set of institutions for decision making and for the implementation of decisions concerning production, income, and consumption within a given geographic area.
Chapter 1 presents definitions and basic examples of the categories used in this book: tradition, market, and command for allocative mechanisms and capitalism and socialism for ownership systems.
According to nineteenth-century socialist views, socialism would function without capitalist economic categories – such as money, prices, interest, profits and rent – and thus would function according to laws other than those described by current economic science. While some socialists recognized the need for money and prices at least during the transition from capitalism to socialism, socialists more commonly believed that the socialist economy would soon administratively mobilize the economy in physical units without the use of prices or money.
This leads us to describe two extreme categories: market capitalism and command socialism. But this simple dichotomization raises the possibility of “cross forms,”, namely, market socialism and command capitalism. Although less common than the previous two, both have existed.
Indeed, aside from the variation of ownership forms, some follow certain ideas in Marx, saying that how one class relates to another is the crucial matter rather than specifically who owns what, with true socialism involving a lack of exploitation of one class by another. This kind of argument can lead to the position that the Soviet Union was not really socialist but a form of state capitalism in which the government leaders exploited the workers.
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