Market Economy Countries 2022

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A market economy is a system in which individual citizens and privately held businesses—and the customers who patronize them—determine the prices of goods and services through the forces of supply and demand. Those prices, in turn, guide economic decisions in related areas such as investment, production, and distribution. Businesses are free to succeed or fail in market economies, and competition drives innovation and optimizes efficiency. Market economies are typically utilized in capitalist countries, whereas socialist and communist countries typically utilize a command economy, in which the government controls the price, supply/manufacture, and distribution of most goods. Market economies have six defining characteristics which enable them to exist and function properly:

The Six Defining Characteristics of Market Economies:

  1. Private property
  2. Freedom of choice
  3. Motive of self-interest
  4. Competition
  5. System of markets and prices
  6. Limited government

Pure free-market economies are extremely rare, as the government nearly always has a hand in some aspect of the economy, such as offering subsidies to struggling/fledgling industries, capping utility prices, or providing "public goods" (roads, military defenses, universal healthcare) to its citizens. Therefore, most developed countries in the world today include elements of both free market and command economies, making them mixed economies. Most economists agree that market-oriented economies are healthier and more efficient than command economies, but considerable debate exists about which balance of free markets vs central planning results in the greatest economic stability, equity, and long-term benefits.

Countries with Market Economies

Although there are currently no purely free-market economies in the world, some mixed economies are freer than others. According to the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Rankings, the five countries with the most economic freedom in 2021 were Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, and Switzerland. This report ranks countries based on these cornerstones of economic freedom: personal choice rather than collective choice, voluntary exchange coordinated by markets, freedom to enter and compete in markets, and protection of persons and their property.

The Top 25 Most Economically Free Countries in the World (2021):

  1. Taiwan (Republic of China) — 9.02
  2. Hong Kong (China SAR) — 8.91
  3. Singapore — 8.81
  4. New Zealand — 8.56
  5. Switzerland — 8.48
  6. Georgia — 8.26
  7. United States — 8.24
  8. Ireland — 8.21
  9. Lithuania — 8.21
  10. Australia — 8.20
  11. Denmark — 8.17
  12. Mauritius — 8.16
  13. United Kingdom — 8.15
  14. Estonia — 8.11
  15. Canada — 8.06
  16. Malta — 8.03
  17. Armenia — 8.03
  18. Japan — 7.98
  19. Latvia — 7.94
  20. Finland — 7.92
  21. Germany — 7.91
  22. Iceland — 7.90
  23. Spain — 7.89
  24. Cyprus — 7.89
  25. Romania — 7.88
  26. Czech Republic — 7.87

Cuba, China, and North Korea are examples of mixed economies that hew closer to a command economy than a free market economy.

Market Economy Countries 2022

Country 2022 Population
United States334,805,269
Japan125,584,838
Germany83,883,596
United Kingdom68,497,907
Spain46,719,142
Canada38,388,419
Australia26,068,792
Taiwan23,888,595
Romania19,031,335
Czech Republic10,736,784
Switzerland8,773,637
Hong Kong7,604,299
Singapore5,943,546
Denmark5,834,950
Finland5,554,960
Ireland5,020,199
New Zealand4,898,203
Georgia3,968,738
Armenia2,971,966
Lithuania2,661,708
Latvia1,848,837
Estonia1,321,910
Mauritius1,274,727
Cyprus1,223,387
Malta444,033
Iceland345,393

Market Economy Countries 2022

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