Most successful, thriving societies hinge on the presence of a functional economic system. Economics allow these societies to study and manage various social and financial variables, ultimately resulting in a better understanding of their overall productivity and stability.

Here, I take a look at one of the four main economic systems: mixed economics.

Mixed economics

As many would likely guess, mixed economics is a hybridized economic ideology combining characteristics of both capitalism and socialism. A mixed system is hard to pin down in terms of an end-all/be-all definition, but it generally focuses primarily on providing both economic freedom — in terms capital and private property — but also emphasizes government intervention, when necessary, to “achieve social aims.” These systems tend to be less efficient than economies rooted in a free market approach, but those in favor of them would argue that they blend the strongest elements of two established ideologies, producing a way of life that is comfortably in the middle of two extremes.

What makes it unique?

In addition to a noted lack of efficiency compared to free market economies, mixed economies are unique for their approach to trade protection, subsidies, targeted tax credits, fiscal stimulus, and public-private partnerships, which all stand as key examples of government intervention that is involved enough to be progressive at a societal level, but also not intrusive enough to mirror aspects of a command economy.

Mixed economies are occasionally mistaken for socialist societies, but socialism usually tends to implement more of a social approach to its means of production; it also does not go to socialist extremes in terms of price fixing, income redistribution and intense trade restrictions.


What are some examples?

Technically speaking, the United States is a mixed economy by definition since it is comprised of both government- and state-owned entities. For example, US Amish communities continue to practice their own isolated form of economics conforming to their unique lifestyle choice, but other parts of the country are susceptible to government intervention. The US also fits the mold via elements “such as protection for agriculture and manufacturing by through trade restrictions and subsidies.” Other examples of mixed economies, in this regard, include France and Cuba.