Most economic activity in countries around the world exists on a spectrum that ranges from a pure free market economy to an extreme command economy. The command economy is a type of system where the government plays the principal role in planning and regulating goods and services produced in the country. The state authority determines the types of goods and services to be produced and provided, as well as the quantity and prices that will be offered in the marketplace.
Modern command economies can be identified by the following characteristics:
Economic plans are centrally created by the government for the majority, if not all, sectors and regions.
The government distributes the nation’s capital, labor, and natural resources in the means it deems most efficient.
Production and prices are dictated by the government.
Businesses in the finance, utilities, and automotive industries are owned and monopolized by state authorities.
Government policies are created to carry out the centralized economic plan.
This type of economic system is a key feature in communist or socialist countries, such as modern-day North Korea.
Advantages of a Command Economy
If done properly and with adequate resources, a command economy offers the following benefits:
Society favors social welfare and equity rather than profiteering
Prevents monopolies by private businesses in identified crucial industries, such as health and energy
On the other hand, even when done “properly”, a pure command economy has significant drawbacks.
Gluts and shortages of goods are common results, due to fixed prices and quantity of production. Natural equilibrium is more difficult to achieve when price and quantity are not floating.
Inefficient pricing of goods in relation to supply and demand
No response or attention to consumer preferences
Limits liberties and personal rights to pursue financial stability, in favor of social equality
Highly bureaucratic; all planning and execution carried out by the government
Not being able to know and respond to consumer preferences or complaints
CFI is the official provider of the global Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst. To keep advancing your career, the additional CFI resources below will be useful: