chapter  One
16 Pages

Economic Organization and System Performance: The Options for System Choice

WithMichael L. Boyd

We live in a world dominated by competition among different political, social, and economic systems. In order to produce informed evaluations of the strengths and weaknesses of different economic systems, it is first necessary to confront a set of complex and confounding questions that center on system definition and description. Suitable opportunities for empirical investigation which allow one to assess the relative merits and drawbacks of different types of economic organization can be identified by considering the issues. Denning anything as complex and ambiguous as an economic system is exceedingly difficult. Traditional definitions focus on stylized economic systems such as feudalism, capitalism, socialism, fascism, and communism. In order to elaborate the issues involved in comparing relative flexibility of systems at a general level, the chapter compares two idealized alternative economic systems, identical in all aspects of performance except that one is less well able to adapt to constantly accumulating changes and can be identified as less flexible than the other.