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Economic system in which the means of production are publicly owned and economic activity is controlled by a central authority. Central planners determine the assortment of goods to be produced, allocate raw materials, fix quotas for each enterprise, and set prices. Most communist countries have had command economies; capitalist countries may also adopt such a system during national emergencies (e.g., wartime) in order to mobilize resources quickly. See alsocapitalism; communism.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on command economy, visit Britannica.com.