Economic system

System of ownership, production, and exchange / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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An economic system, or economic order,[1] 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.

Circulation model of economic flows for a closed market economy. In this model the use of natural resources and the generation of waste (like greenhouse gases) is not included.

An economic system is a type of social system. The mode of production is a related concept.[2] All economic systems must confront and solve the four fundamental economic problems:

  • What kinds and quantities of goods shall be produced: This fundamental economic problem is anchored on the theory of pricing. The theory of pricing, in this context, has to do with the economic decision-making between the production of capital goods and consumer goods in the economy in the face of scarce resources. In this regard, the critical evaluation of the needs of the society based on population distribution in terms of age, sex, occupation, and geography is very pertinent.
  • How goods shall be produced: The fundamental problem of how goods shall be produced is largely hinged on the least-cost method of production to be adopted as gainfully peculiar to the economically decided goods and services to be produced. On a broad note, the possible production method includes labor-intensive and capital-intensive methods.
  • How the output will be distributed: Production is said to be completed when the goods get to the final consumers. This fundamental problem of how the output will be distributed seeks to identify the best possible medium through which bottlenecks and the clogs in the wheel of the chain of economic resources distributions can reduce to the barest minimum and optimize consumers' satisfaction.
  • When to produce:[3] Consumer satisfaction is partly a function of seasonal analysis as the forces of demand and supply have a lot to do with time. This fundamental economic problem requires an intensive study of time dynamics and seasonal variation vis-a-vis the satisfaction of consumers' needs. It is noteworthy to state that solutions to these fundamental problems can be determined by the type of economic system.

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.[4] 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.[5] 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.