Understand Economic System Variations

Overview of 62 economic system variations

With so much STEEP turmoil world-wide, it is not surprising that multiple old and new economic variations are being discussed, and implemented, world-wide.

A quick review of 62 models makes it apparent many of these systems are complementary. And some are just the same variation with a different name.

Lively debate continues among economists and policy makers about which are most effective in promoting more equitable social and environmental well-being.

With this overview, which surely does not, as yet, cover the entire waterfront, you gain quotes from relevant authorities. As you discover other variants, please let us know, so we can add them.

Over the coming weeks and months, you will find this overview is fleshed out with reference links and archived content you can access on demand.

Attention economy

"The attention economy is an economy that revolves around the allocation of human attention, rather than the allocation of financial capital or other resources." - Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck.

Attention-based economy

"The attention-based economy is an economic model where people's time and attention are the currency of the marketplace." - James Williams.

Barter economy

"Barter is a system of exchange where goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money." - Investopedia

Given the complex taxation issues involved with barter, this economic system has waxed and wained over the years. It is now back in force.

A variation is global barter trading where nations exchange goods and services, based on comparable value, with no currency exchanging hands,

Bio-regional economy

An economic system that focuses on local production and consumption to promote environmental sustainability and community resilience.

Blockchain economy

"The blockchain economy is an economic model where digital currencies and other assets are exchanged using blockchain technology, which provides a secure and transparent ledger for recording transactions." - Don Tapscott

Blue economy

"A blue economy is one that is sustainable, inclusive, and maximizes economic benefits while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystems." - World Bank


A market-based economic system where production and distribution are privately owned and operated for profit. "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." - Winston Churchill

We note that current capitalism is not the same globally. Compare the sytems of Europe, the USA, and Australia for differences.

The world Economic Forum - the most powerful 'elite' global economic body - is calling for a Global Economic Reset and new stakeholder capitalism, that stresses social cohesion.

Circular economy

"A circular economy is an economic system that is regenerative and restorative by design. It aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times." - Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Collaborative economy

"The collaborative economy is an economic model based on sharing, collaborating, and exchanging goods and services between individuals and organizations, enabled by digital platforms." - European Parliament

Command economy

"In a command economy, the government controls all factors of production and makes all decisions about their use and about the distribution of income." - Encyclopaedia Britannica


"The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence

Abolish all private property." - Karl Marx

Community wealth building

An approach that seeks to build local wealth and power through community ownership and control of assets, including land, housing, and businesses.

Community-supported agriculture

A system where individuals or communities support local farmers by purchasing shares of their harvest.

Data economy

An economic system that focuses on the value and exchange of data, including personal data, to drive economic growth and innovation.

Decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) economy

An economic model that uses blockchain technology to create decentralized, autonomous organizations that can make decisions and operate without traditional hierarchical management structures.

Decentralized economy

"A decentralized economy is an economic system where power and decision-making are distributed among many actors, rather than concentrated in the hands of a few." - Primavera De Filippi

Digital platform economy

“The digital platform economy represents a transformative shift in how economic transactions and interactions occur. It is characterized by the pervasive use of online platforms that connect users and enable the exchange of resources, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurship, flexibility in work arrangements, and access to a global marketplace of goods and services.” – Julia Powles

Doughnut economics

“Doughnut economics challenges the traditional growth-centric model and envisions an economic system that strives to achieve both social foundations of well-being and environmental sustainability. It seeks to create an economy that ensures that no one falls short on life's essentials, while also respecting the boundaries of the Earth's resources and ecosystems.” – Kate Raworth

Ecological economics

An interdisciplinary approach that considers the relationship between economic systems and the environment.

Experience economy

"The experience economy is an economy in which businesses create value by engaging customers in a memorable and meaningful way, using entertainment, aesthetics, and sensory stimulation to forge emotional connections." - Joseph Pine and James Gilmore

Feminist economics

An approach that examines how gender affects economic systems and seeks to create more gender-equitable economic policies.

Feminist political economy

An approach that combines feminist theory with political economy to analyse how gender and power intersect with economic systems.

Gift economy

A gift economy is a mode of exchange where valuables are not traded or sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards." - David Graeber. The First Nation peoples of many nations evolved gift economies, that, then in countries like India and the UK to dowry traditions.

Green economy

"A green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities." - United Nations Environment Program

Green new deal

A policy proposal that seeks to address climate change and economic inequality by investing in clean energy and creating green jobs.

Holacracy economy

"A holacracy economy is an economic system where organizations are structured around self-organizing teams, rather than hierarchical management structures." - Brian Robertson


"Humanomics places human well-being and flourishing at the heart of economic thinking. It calls for an economic framework that goes beyond monetary measures and considers the multi-dimensional aspects of human life, valuing social connections, individual capabilities, and the overall quality of life. It emphasizes the importance of empathy, compassion, and ethical considerations in shaping economic systems that serve the needs and aspirations of people." – ChatGPT

Inclusive capitalism

"Inclusive capitalism recognizes that the true measure of economic success lies not just in financial wealth, but in the well-being of individuals and communities. It strives for an economic system that is equitable, sustainable, and participatory, where businesses prioritize long-term value creation, stakeholders are engaged, and opportunities for social mobility are expanded." – ChatGPT

Keynesian economics

An older economic theory that suggests that government intervention can help stabilize the economy and promote economic growth. Gained sway following the Great Depression of the early 1930's and with economic reconstruction after WW11.

Knowledge economy

"A knowledge economy is an economy where knowledge is the main engine of growth, and innovation and entrepreneurship are the key drivers of prosperity." - OECD

Local economy

"A local economy is an economic system where goods and services are produced and consumed within a limited geographic area, often with an emphasis on sustainability, self-sufficiency, and community resilience." - Michael Shuman

Market economy

"A market economy is an economy in which decisions regarding investment, production and distribution are based on supply and demand, and the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system." - Investopedia

Mixed economy

"A mixed economy is an economic system in which both the private sector and state direct the economy, reflecting characteristics of both market economies and planned economies." - Investopedia


An economic theory that emphasizes the role of money supply in the economy and the need for central banks to control inflation.

Natural economy

"A natural economy is an economic model that is based on the principles of ecology and seeks to align human economic activity with the natural systems that support it." - Paul Hawken

Open economy

"An open economy is an economy that is open to trade and investment and has relatively low barriers to entry and exit for firms and individuals." - International Monetary Fund

Open-source economy

"Open-source economics is an emerging approach that promotes the collective production, distribution, and utilization of economic resources through open collaboration, shared knowledge, and participatory decision-making. It envisions an economic system where individuals and communities actively contribute to and benefit from a shared pool of resources, fostering innovation, cooperation, and the common good." - ChatGPT

Participatory economics

“Participatory economics advocates for a transformative economic model where decision-making power is decentralized, workers have control over their own workplaces, and resources are allocated based on democratic deliberation. It strives to create a just and inclusive economic system that values solidarity, diversity, and meaningful participation of all individuals in shaping their economic lives.” – Michael Albert

Peer-to-peer economy

An economic model that relies on peer-to-peer transactions and decentralized platforms, such as blockchain technology, to facilitate exchange and collaboration.

Platform co-operativism

"Platform co-operativism is a movement to create democratic and worker-owned alternatives to the platform economy, using cooperatives, credit unions, and other cooperative structures." - Trebor Scholz

Platform economy

"The platform economy is an economic model where digital platforms facilitate exchanges between users, typically for a fee, and can connect buyers and sellers, producers and consumers, and service providers and clients." - World Economic Forum


“Post-capitalism is not a fixed blueprint, but a dynamic process of imagining and creating new economic systems that are rooted in solidarity, cooperation, and sustainability. It challenges the dominance of profit-driven markets and aims to build an economy that serves the needs and aspirations of all individuals and communities.” – Paul Mason

Post-growth economy

“Post-growth economics challenges the prevailing notion of endless economic growth and questions its sustainability within the context of ecological limits, social well-being, and human flourishing. It advocates for a shift towards economic systems that prioritize quality of life, social justice, and environmental stewardship over relentless GDP growth.” – Tim Jackson

Post-Keynesian economics

"Post-Keynesian economics is characterized by its emphasis on the fundamental uncertainty of economic outcomes and its rejection of the neoclassical assumptions of perfect information, rational expectations, and market efficiency. As such, it challenges the orthodox view and offers a fresh perspective.” - L. Randall Wray

Purpose economy

"The purpose economy is an economy in which individuals and organizations are increasingly focused on creating social and environmental impact, as well as financial return." - Aaron Hurst

Purpose-driven economy

"A purpose-driven economy is an economy in which businesses are motivated by a sense of purpose beyond profit, and prioritize social and environmental impact as well as financial return." - B Lab

Regenerative economy

"A regenerative economy is an economic system that is designed to restore, renew, and revitalize natural, social, and economic systems, and to create positive social and environmental outcomes." - Carol Sanford

Reputation economy

"A reputation economy is an economy in which the value of an individual or organization's reputation is the primary determinant of economic success or failure." - Michael Fertik

Reputation-based economy

"A reputation-based economy is an economic model where people, businesses, and organizations build and maintain their reputation as a means of establishing trust and attracting business." - Rachel Botsman

Resilient economy

"A resilient economy is an economic system that is designed to withstand shocks and stresses, including environmental disasters, economic downturns, and social upheavals." - Rockefeller Foundation

Resource-based economy

"A resource-based economy is a system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter, or any other system of debt or servitude." - Jacque Fresco

Sharing and exchange economy

"The sharing and exchange economy is an economic model where people exchange goods, services, and resources directly with one another, often facilitated by digital platforms." - Shareable

Slow economy

"The slow economy is an economic system that prioritizes quality over quantity, and emphasizes sustainable production and consumption practices, as well as local and artisanal production." - Carlo Petrini.

A variation of Slow Economy is the slow food movement - a contrast to fast food.

Social credit system

A proposed system that would use a person's social and economic behaviour to determine their creditworthiness.

Social enterprise

A business model that aims to achieve social or environmental goals while also generating revenue.


A system where the means of production are owned and controlled by the state or by the community as a whole, and resources are allocated according to need.

"Socialism is the view that freedom is impossible without equality, and equality is impossible without community." - Tony Benn

Solidarity economy

"A solidarity economy is an economic system that is based on principles of solidarity, cooperation, mutual aid, and democratic decision-making, and aims to promote social and economic justice." - RIPESS International

Stakeholder economy

"A stakeholder economy is an economic system that prioritizes the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and communities, rather than just shareholders." - Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum

Sufficiency economy

"The Sufficiency Economy Philosophy is a development approach that focuses on the middle path - between excess and insufficiency - and seeks to promote balance, resilience and sustainability in all dimensions of life." - Office of the Royal Development Projects Board

Time banking

A system where individuals trade services or goods based on the amount of time they spend on them.

Universal basic income economy

The Star Trek series of the 1960's assumed the Universal basic income (UBI) system.

"A universal basic income economy is an economic system where all citizens are provided with a guaranteed income, regardless of their employment status or income level." - Rutger Bregman. 

Read a radical thought about UBI

Well-being economy

"The well-being economy is an economic system that is designed to maximize human well-being, social equity, and ecological sustainability, rather than maximizing economic growth and profit." - Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams

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