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.