Market Economy

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DEFINITION of 'Market Economy'

An economic system in which economic decisions and the pricing of goods and services are guided solely by the aggregate interactions of a country's citizens and businesses and there is little government intervention or central planning. This is the opposite of a centrally planned economy, in which government decisions drive most aspects of a country's economic activity.

BREAKING DOWN 'Market Economy'

Market economies work on the assumption that market forces, such as supply and demand, are the best determinants of what is right for a nation's well-being. These economies rarely engage in government interventions such as price fixing, license quotas and industry subsidizations.

While most developed nations today could be classified as having mixed economies, they are often said to have market economies because they allow market forces to drive most of their activities, typically engaging in government intervention only to the extent that it is needed to provide stability. Although the market economy is clearly the system of choice in today's global marketplace, there is significant debate regarding the amount of government intervention considered optimal for efficient economic operations.

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