Economic Systems: Past, Present And Future

2964 words - 12 pages

IntroductionThe Understanding Economics textbook defines an economic system as, "the organisation of an economy, which represents a country's distinct set of social customs, political institutions and economic practices". In this report I will discuss two of the worlds' leading economic systems, Capitalism and Communism. As well, I will discuss our Nation's economic system, the mixed economy. I plan to research the three elements stated by the textbook for each of the economic systems mentioned.Economic systems are divided into three basic types: Traditional, Market and Command.A traditional system is one in which people's economic roles are the same as their parentsand grandparents. These ...view middle of the document...

Market EconomyThe earliest forms of capitalism (then called mercantilism) originate in Rome, the Middle East, and the early Middle Ages. Goods were bought at one site for a certain price ad moved to another site and sold at a higher price. As the Roman Empire expanded, mercantilism expanded as well. But the contraction of the Roman Empire from the 5th century onward also contracted mercantilism until it was not a substantial aspect of European culture. Arabic cultures on the other hand, had a long history of this practice. It was substantially aided by to the fact that these countries were lying on the trade routes between the three great empires: Egypt, Persia, and Byzantium. Because Islam spread so rapidly across North Africa, Spain, the Middle East and Asia, the Arabic mercantilism became a phenomenon worldwide as well. From the 1300's Europeans began once again expanding their mercantile practices. As time went on in Europe, mercantilism gradually evolved into economic practices known as capitalism. Capitalism refers to a set of economic practices that were institutionalized in Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries. Today the "center" of capitalism is a combination of the US, Europe and Japan.Capitalism mainly involves the right of individuals and groups to buy and sell goods in a free market. Market economies are decentralized, flexible, practical and changeable. This results in freedom for the consumer to choose among competing products and services, start or expand a business and to choose a job or career at ones discretion.There are three main benefits associated with this economic system. They are the effect of consumer needs and wants on production decisions, prices and innovation. Customer sovereignty means that the decision of what to produce is guided mainly by the needs and wants of households. Take the emergence of DVD players as an example. The reason that VHS tapes are becoming increasingly scarce is because consumers are not buying as many VCRs because of the quality and status of the new DVD players. The demand is switching and therefore the industry has to respond accordingly. Prices can either increase or decrease the value of a good. This is used to stop either too much or little production of the good. Higher prices for DVD players will give businesses the opportunity to make a higher profit and therefore create an incentive for businesses to produce more. Another benefit related to the incentive to make a profit is that this drive encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovation leads to the creation of goods and services that can develop a society in many ways. Someone created the wheel right?There are three main weaknesses with the Market economy. They are income distribution, market problems and potential instability of output. Inequity has been an area of concern for many challengers of this type of economy. The theory that "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer" is significantly obvious. Without the...

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