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July 23, 2018 

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PATERNALISM: A fundamental philosophical viewpoint that the private sector (households and businesses) needs to be watched over--like a parent--by the public sector (government). In other words, members of society need to be watched over, cared for, and kept out of trouble, like parents watch over, care for, and keep their children out of trouble. This philosophy of paternalism should be contrasted directly with the philosophy of laissez faire, which essentially says "Hey, we're all grown ups here, we can make our own decisions."

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COMMAND ECONOMY:

An economy in which the government uses its coercive powers to answer the three questions of allocation. This is the real world version of the idealized theoretical pure command economy. While in this real world version some allocation decisions are undertaken by markets, the vast majority are made through central planning.
A command economy is one in which government commands (directs, orders, or dictates) the vast majority of resource allocation decisions. The contrasting economic system is a market-oriented economy, in which resource allocation decisions are achieved primarily through voluntary market exchanges.

To achieve the allocation in absence of market exchanges, command economies make use of central planning. While central planning exists to some degree even in market-oriented capitalist economies, the level of detail needed in command economies is extensive. Every input, every output, every intermediate good, every worker, every resource is allocated based on a predetermined plan. Such planning is inherently less flexible and less efficient than markets.

The two most notable command economies of the 20th century were the communist/socialist economic systems of China and the Soviet Union. Other countries in eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America also had various forms of command economies during the mid- to late-1900s.

The philosophical basis of 20th century command economies can be found in the works of Karl Marx, including the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. These works presented the economic rationale for the decline of capitalism and the emergence of communism through the dictatorship of the proletariat, with an intermediate stage of socialism. While Marx's ultimate, utopian system of communism is totally devoid of government, the intermediate state of socialism involves extensive government control, hence a command economy. Soviet and Chinese political leaders and revolutionaries who adopted a communistic philosophy never quite made it past the intermediate socialistic, command economy stage.

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Recommended Citation:

COMMAND ECONOMY, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2018. [Accessed: July 23, 2018].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | pure command economy | central planning | market socialism | planned economy |


Or For A Little Background...

     | public sector | communism | socialism | economic system |


And For Further Study...

     | three questions of allocation | mixed economy | market-oriented economy | capitalism | economic goals | first estate | production possibilities | political views | distribution standards |


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