Compare a command economy to a traditional economy by listing a strength and a weakness of each.

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A strength of both traditional and command economies is that neither features the kind of economic inequality that is often characteristic of a market economy. In traditional economies, property is typically held in common, with no opportunities for individuals to amass large amounts of it. People who live in traditional economies (and there are very few of them anymore) are typically hunter-gatherers or small farmers. The fruits of their labor belong to the whole organization, with chiefs or other leaders typically responsible for ensuring their allocation. In a command economy, the government serves as a central planner, not only owning the means of production (the factories and farms) but also determining what, and how much, is produced. Theoretically, property is held in common in a command economy as well—the state administers economic activity for the benefit of all. That this is not usually true in practice is a major weakness of command economies, as is the fact that they stifle innovation—people have no economic incentive to engage in entrepreneurship, or to do a particularly good job in their occupation. Command economies often are incapable of the productive capacity of market economies for this reason. Traditional economies are simply incapable of organizing labor and resources in order to produce goods and services in a complex way. So their capacity to raise capital, develop technology, and gather a workforce is usually very limited.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are three general types of economic systems.  These are command economies, traditional economies, and market economies.  Of course, most economies have aspects of more than one of these ideal types.  Each of these economic systems answers the basic economic questions (what to make, how to make it, who to make it for) in a different way.

In a traditional economy, the economic questions are answered by tradition.  That is, things are done the way that they have always been done.  People make the things they have always made in the ways they have always made them.  This can be very good in a way because it promotes stability and certainty.  You typically know what your life will be like and you don’t have to stress about making many decisions.  On the other hand, such an economy will be very stagnant because it never does anything new.

In a command economy, the government makes all the decisions.  It decides what will be made and how.  It decides who gets the things that are made.  This sort of an economy can be good because it can ensure that there will be little inequality in the country.  However, it also tends to be very bad at giving consumers what they want because it is the government that is making all the decisions.

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