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An economic system is a system for producing, distributing and consuming goods and services, including the combination of the various institutions, agencies, consumers, entities (or even sectors as described by some authors) that comprise the economic structure of a given society or community. It also includes how these various agencies and institutions are linked to one another, how information goes between them, and the social relations within the system (including property rights and the structure of management). A related concept is the mode of production.
Among actual economic systems, distinctive methods of analysis have developed, such as socialist economics and Islamic economic jurisprudence. Today the dominant form of economic organization at the global level is based on capitalist mixed economies.
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. Subcategories of different systems there include:
- planning, coordination, and reform
- productive enterprises; factor and product markets; prices; population
- public economics; financial economics
- national income, product, and expenditure; money; inflation
- international trade, finance, investment, and aid
- consumer economics; welfare and poverty
- performance and prospects
- natural resources; energy; environment; regional studies
- political economy; legal institutions; property rights.
There are multiple components to economic systems. 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. Some aspects of these structures include:
- Coordination mechanism: How information is obtained and used to coordinate economic activity. The two dominant forms of coordination include planning and the market; planning can be either centralized or de-centralized, and the two mechanisms are not mutually exclusive.
- Productive property rights: This refers to ownership (rights to the proceeds of output generated) and control over the use of the means of production. They may be owned privately, by the state, by those who use it, or held in common by society.
- Incentive system: A mechanism for inducing certain economic agents to engage in productive activity; it can be based on either material reward (compensation) or moral reward (social prestige).
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 can be divided by the way they allocate economic inputs (the means of production) and how they make decisions regarding the use of inputs. A common distinction of great importance is that between capitalism (a market economy) and socialism (economic planning).
In a capitalist economic system, production is carried out to maximize private profit, decisions regarding investment and the use of the means of production are determined by competing business owners in the marketplace; production takes place within the process of capital accumulation. The means of production are owned primarily by private enterprises and decisions regarding production and investment 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 stated aim of ensuring social justice and a more equitable distribution of wealth (see welfare state) or ameliorating market failures (see economic intervention).
In a socialist economic system, production is carried out to directly satisfy economic demand by producing goods and services for use; decisions regarding the use of the means of production are adjusted to satisfy economic demand, investment (control over the surplus value) is carried out through a mechanism of inclusive collective decision-making. The means of production are either publicly owned, or are owned by the workers cooperatively. A socialist economic system that is based on the process of capital accumulation, but seeks to control or direct that process through state ownership or cooperative control to ensure stability, equality or expand decision-making power, are market socialist systems.
The basic and general economic systems are:
- Market economy ("hands off" systems, such as Laissez-faire capitalism)
- Mixed economy (a hybrid that blends some aspects of both market and planned economies)
- Planned economy ("hands on" systems, such as state socialism or state capitalism)
- Traditional economy (a generic term for older economic systems)
- Command (Centrally Planned) Economic Systems: (a generic term for older economic systems)
- Participatory economics (a system where the production and distribution of goods is guided by public participation)
- Gift economy (where an exchange is made without any explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards)
- Barter economy (where goods and services are directly exchanged for other goods or services)
Economic systems can be subdivided by their coordinating mechanism (planning and markets) into planned socialist and market socialist systems. Additionally, socialism can be divided based on the ownership of the means of production into 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 Marx as "second stage Socialism" in Critique of the Gotha Program, whereby economic output is distributed based on need and not simply on the basis of labor contribution.
The primary concern for socialist planned economies is to coordinate production to directly satisfy human needs/economic demand (as opposed to generate profit and satisfy needs as a byproduct of pursuing profit), to advance the productive forces of the economy while being immune to the systemic inefficiencies (cyclical processes) and crisis of overproduction that plagues capitalism so that production would be subject to the needs of society as opposed to being ordered around capital accumulation.
- Planned systems
- Market systems
Types of mixed economies 
Economic systems that contain substantial state, private and sometimes cooperative ownership and operated in mixed economies - i.e., ones that contain substantial amounts of both market activity and economic planning. In practice, mixed economies gravitate more heavily to one end of the spectrum.
- Distributism - Catholic ideal of a "third way" economy, featuring more distributed ownership
- Georgism - socialized rents on land
- Mixed economy
Evolutionary economics 
Karl Marx's theory of economic development was based on the premise of evolving economic systems; specifically, over the course of history superior economic systems would replace inferior ones. Inferior systems were beset by internal contradictions and inefficiencies that make them impossible to survive over the 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, Communist states run according to Marxist-Leninist ideologies have either collapsed 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.
Context in society 
An economic system can be considered a part of the social system and hierarchically equal to the law system, political system, cultural, etc. 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.
List of economic systems 
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This list attempts to sort all possible economic systems in alphabetical order, without any division or hierarchization.
- American School
- Barter economy
- Buddhist economics
- Corporate capitalism
- Digital economy
- Fascist socialization
- Green economy
- Hydraulic despotism
- Inclusive democracy
- Information economy
- Internet economy
- Islamic economics
- Japanese System
- Knowledge economy
- Libertarian communism
- Libertarian socialism
- Market economy
- Market socialism
- Marxian economics
- Mixed economy
- National Economy
- National Socialism
- Natural economy
- Network economy
- Nordic model
- Non-property system
- Participatory economy
- Planned economy
- PROUTist economy
- Social Credit
- Social market economy
- Socialist market economy
- Subsistence economy
- Traditional economy
- Virtual economy
See also 
- History of economic thought
- Political economy
- Economic ideology
- Mode of production
- Factors of production
- Social relations of production
Further reading 
- Richard Bonney (1995), Economic Systems and State Finance, 680 pp.
- David W. Conklin (1991), Comparative Economic Systems, Cambridge University Press, 427 pp.
- George Sylvester Counts (1970), Bolshevism, Fascism, and Capitalism: An Account of the Three Economic Systems.
- Robert L. Heilbroner and Peter J. Boettke (2007). "Economic Systems". The New Encyclopædia Britannica, v. 17, pp. 908–15.
- Harold Glenn Moulton, Financial Organization and the Economic System, 515 pp.
- Jacques Jacobus Polak (2003), An International Economic System, 179 pp.
- Frederic L. Pryor (1996), Economic Evolution and Structure: 384 pp.
- Frederic L. Pryor (2005), Economic Systems of Foraging, Agricultural, and Industrial Societies, 332 pp.
- Graeme Snooks (1999), Global Transition: A General Theory, PalgraveMacmillan, 395 pp.
- • Paul A. Samuelson and William D. Nordhaus (2004). Economics, McGraw-Hill, Glossary of Terms, "Mixed economy"; ch. 1, (section) Market, Command, and Mixed Economies.
• Alan V. Deardorff (2006). Glossary of International Economics, Mixed economy.
- JEL classification codes, Economic systems JEL: P Subcategories
- Comparing Economic Systems in the Twenty-First Century, 2003, by Gregory and Stuart. ISBN 0-618-26181-8.
- David W. Conklin (1991), Comparative Economic Systems, University of Calgary Press, p.1.
- Socialism: Still Impossible After All These Years, on Mises.org. Retrieved February 15, 2010, from Mises.org http://mises.org/journals/scholar/Boettke.pdf, What Socialism means: " The ultimate end of socialism was the 'end of history', in which perfect social harmony would permanently be established. Social harmony was to be achieved by the abolition of exploitation, the transcendence of alienation, and above all, the transformation of society from the 'kingdom of necessity' to the 'kingdom of freedom.' How would such a world be achieved? The socialists informed us that by rationalizing production and thus advancing material production beyond the bounds reachable under capitalism, socialism would usher mankind into a post-scarcity world."
- Socialism and Calculation, on worldsocialism.org. Retrieved February 15, 2010, from worldsocialism.org: http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/overview/calculation.pdf: "Although money, and so monetary calculation, will disappear in socialism this does not mean that there will no longer be any need to make choices, evaluations and calculations...Wealth will be produced and distributed in its natural form of useful things, of objects that can serve to satisfy some human need or other. Not being produced for sale on a market, items of wealth will not acquire an exchange-value in addition to their use-value. In socialism their value, in the normal non-economic sense of the word, will not be their selling price nor the time needed to produce them but their usefulness. It is for this that they will be appreciated, evaluated, wanted. . . and produced."
- Video Overview of Economic Systems by Thinkwell
- Social Studies VSC Glossary
- Glossary-Cultural Anthropology
- ECONOMIC SYSTEMS, a refereed journal for the analysis of market and non-market solution, by Elsevier since 2001.
- Economic Systems by WebEc, 2007.
- World Economic Systems