One of the biggest political debates regards the best type of economic system, which usually boils down to capitalism vs socialism.

Are there other kinds of economic systems, aside from more "primitive" kinds, like barter?

To put my question in perspective, I think of economic systems as a continuum that looks something like this:

communism | socialism | "mixed economy" | capitalism | "free market capitalism" (anything goes, rampant corruption and inequality)

So "mixed economy" would be a combination of socialism and capitalism, rather than a distinct economic system.

But that's just my opinion. There may be views that are radically different than mine


Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of economic systems.

If you want to start thinking about number major economic systems that exist I recomend looking at the section on an economy's allocation mechanism.

In particular, Wikipedia lists the following kinds of system:

The basic and general economic systems segmented by allocation 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, also known as "command economy" when referring to the Soviet model)
  • Traditional economy (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)
  • Post-scarcity economy (a hypothetical form where resources aren't scarce, such as Marx's concept of a Communist society)
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The links are useful, but the content body does not answer the question. A good way to think about whether the question is answered or not, is to read the text of the answer, and to assume that there are no hyperlinks - that the link text is just plain text. If you do that here, you see that this doesn't address the question at all. $\endgroup$
    – 410 gone
    Mar 6 '17 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ @EnergyNumbers Thanks, I'll know better for next time. $\endgroup$
    – EconJohn
    Mar 6 '17 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I could see that I was being forwarded to an answer on another website, so I wasn't sure if I should check it as the correct answer. But, as much as I despise Wikipedia, this particular article did answer my question. Maybe I'm just flattered because it pretty much agreed with my understanding of economic systems - though there aren't many to choose between. ;) $\endgroup$ Mar 6 '17 at 22:33
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Energynumbers a comment should not only point out a mistake, but also suggest a way to fix it. For example, you could have suggested to use the edit function to improve his answer by adding a brief review of the article cited! ;) /metacomment $\endgroup$
    – Three Diag
    Mar 7 '17 at 8:23

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