What Are the Different Types of Mixed Economic Systems?

Osmand Vitez

Mixed economic systems are those that use both market and planned economy attributes. A few different types of mixed economic systems exist, with the most common being planned or command economies. Beneath each of these broad headers are a few more types. The purpose of mixing capitalist and socialist principles is an attempt to regulate the free market. Individuals who believe in mixed economies often believe in the restriction of freedom, which keeps people from engaging in their own self-interests.

A statue of Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese politician who introduced the socialist market economy in China.
A statue of Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese politician who introduced the socialist market economy in China.

A planned economy exists when a government entity makes many major decisions regarding the basic use of resources in the economy. Activities like the collection, distribution, and production of goods and services all come down to government decisions. Market prices attached to goods may also come from the government. Here, the natural market forces that typically exist between businesses and individuals cannot direct economic activity. The attributes of government control are often heavily involved in mixed economic systems.

Command economies take the principles from a planned economy many steps further in terms of state control. A command economy may rely heavily on socialist or collectivist principles, where the rewards earned by businesses or individuals go to the state or a collective pool. In short, there is no real protection of personal property, and the private use of economic gain faces immense pressure, with the result being the inability to engage in economic self-interest. There is no real economic planning that exists with a command economy. The government or collectivist society simply controls the entire economy.

Nations can create mixed economic systems by taking attributes from the two economic systems above and a market economy. For example, there may be two major sectors in the economy: public and private. The government owns several businesses, while private individuals own other businesses. While the two sectors can work with each other, there is also the ability for the government to dominate certain industries if necessary. These systems can also change or alter current market economies through some form of government intervention.

Regulation is often the biggest tool government wields in mixed economic systems. Governments usually attempt to create fair economic systems, with no real concept of fair being defined. What one individual decides is fair is often subjective, with another seeing fairness as immoral or improper. A mixed economy can also be less efficient due to the slow nature of a large government to change policies through its bureaucracy. Responding to consumer demand is also difficult as the government cannot know what a consumer wants or desires.

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Discussion Comments


@bear78-- I'm not an expert on economy, but as far as I know, there really isn't a country in the world where the government doesn't exercise any kind of power or regulation over the economy whatsoever. Even the United States regulates from time to time. For example, there have been many times when the government saved businesses that were going bankrupt to avoid the many negative consequences that would have on the economy.

I'm of the opinion that a mixed economic system is best anyway. There are some industries or services that ought to be controlled by the government. Can you imagine a private postal service for example? It's not a good idea to privatize everything and leave the economy to its fate in every circumstances. Some minor regulations are required here and there, and as long as the economy is mostly free, it's fine.


Do we have a free market system or a mixed system here in the US? As far as I know, there are times when the government regulates some things about the economy. So what does this make us?


I was once part of a simulation where we learned the types of effects that occur when a country with a command economy changes to a free economy. I don't know about mixed economic systems, but I do know that free economies have many benefits.

For one, private businesses and direct foreign investment increase national GDP. This results in more jobs being available and it also increases the amount the government can spend on social programs such as education, health, etc. The end result of all of this is improved standard of living for everyone.

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