A Theory of Economic Systems

A Theory of Economic Systems

1st Edition - September 27, 1984

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  • Author: Manuel Gottlieb
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483265896

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A Theory of Economic Systems is a systematic inquiry into the nature of historical economic systems, their relationships to each other, their peripheral areas, and the ways in which they and their components have evolved over time. Topics covered include modes of production; coordination of resource use; functions of the state in the economy; and the institutions of money and property. Comprised of nine chapters, this book begins with a brief introduction to the frame of reference; basic definitions of the terms used in economic systems; methodological issues; and the bounds of the inquiry. The next chapters are devoted to modes of production or forms of productive organization. Ten distinct modes of production are identified, with different modes sometimes dominant in different fields of economic activity (agriculture, industry, wholesale trade, urban services, etc.). The way the use of economic resources is coordinated both within and between modes is considered, with particular reference to markets, rationing, and central planning. Subsequent chapters focus on the role of the state and the public economy in economic systems; money and property; the ways in which separate economic systems may be drawn into meaningful multinational gestalts or orders; and problems of system classification. The book concludes by listing eight broad family types of systems into which most, if not all, historically experienced systems may fit. This monograph should appeal to social scientists in varied fields of specialization such as geography, sociology, economic history, political science, and economics.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

    A Note on Background

    A Note on References


    1. Introduction


    The Scope of the Economic



    Role of the Noneconomic and Understanding

    Primitive and Archaic Systems Excluded

    Functions of an Economic System

    2. The Mode of Production: Early Forms

    Defining the Mode of Production

    Village Community Mode

    Simple Commodity Producer Mode

    Slave Mode

    Feudal Mode

    Peon Mode

    Landlord Mode

    3. Modes of Production: Capitalist and Corporate

    Capitalist Mode

    Ordering Principle: Competition

    Mercantile Capitalism

    Agrarian Capitalism

    Industrial Capitalism: Six Behavioral Laws

    The Quasi-Public Corporation Mode: Structure

    Character of the Corporate Mode

    4. The Mode of Production: Conclusion

    The Cooperative Mode

    Essential Principles of Cooperation

    Retail Marketing Co-Ops

    Farm Co-Ops

    Public Mode

    Staffing of the Public Mode

    Technology of the Public Mode

    Public Mode: Utilities

    Military—Industrial—Science Complex

    Hybrid Modes

    Economic Systems as Multimodal

    5. Coordination of Resource Use within and Between Modes



    Price Formation


    Economic Planning

    Socialist Economic Planning

    6. Functions of the State in the Economy


    Regulation of Foreign Trade

    Regulation of Domestic Production

    Regulated Wages and Working Conditions

    Price Control and Rationing

    Other Regulatory Functions

    Essential Public Works

    Theory of Public Works

    Income and Wealth Distribution

    7. The Institution of Money

    Concept of the Institution

    Commodity Money and Coinage

    Token Money

    The Commercial Bank and Its Deposit or Note Money

    Central Banks and the Gold Standard

    U.S. External Deficit: The Undoing of the Gold Standard

    Demonetization of Gold

    Relations of Central Banks to Each Other

    8. Institution of Property


    Assets, Tangible and Intangible

    Control and Beneficial Use

    Inheritance, Partible or Concentrated


    Protection of Interests

    Ordering of Interests

    Significance of Property for Economic Systems

    9. The Economic System as a Whole

    Summary View of an Economic System

    How Economic Systems Evolve or Change Over Time

    How Economic Systems Are Related to Each Other

    Preindustrial Systems

    Mercantilist Systems

    Modern Systems

    Each System Unique



Product details

  • No. of pages: 476
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 1984
  • Published: September 27, 1984
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9781483265896

About the Author

Manuel Gottlieb

About the Editors

Charles Tilly

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Michigan, U.S.A.

Edward Shorter

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Toronto, Canada

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