Free enterprise system definition, examples and benefits

Table of Contents

Free enterprise system definition

A free enterprise system is defined as an economic system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by unrestricted competition between privately-owned businesses. Also, it can be defined as an economic system in which the ownership of businesses, and activities relating to how businesses are carried out, is not restricted by the government; the only role the government plays is to prevent monopoly and regulate the quality of the goods and services produced.

This type of market is also known as a free-market economy. A free enterprise system includes a market of independent firms and individuals, with an opportunity for new companies to enter the market and compete for business.

In reality, there shouldn’t be government interventions in an ideal free enterprise system, but this has now been modified to include some government regulations and is regarded as a modified free enterprise system. Therefore, the modified free enterprise is a free enterprise system with some government involvement.

A free enterprise system refers to a type of economic system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand.
A free enterprise system refers to a type of economic system in which the prices of goods and services are determined by supply and demand and businesses have unrestricted competition.

What is a free enterprise system?

A free enterprise system is an economic and political structure within a market economy that regulates the flow of productive resources and capital goods between private parties alone without government intervention. The free enterprise system can also be accurately called “capitalism.” Under capitalism, the means of production are privately owned, and goods and services are produced for profit.

The nature of a free enterprise system is defined by the existence of a large private sector that has the ability to engage in production and trade. Businesses compete with one another in the marketplace.

What does free enterprise system mean?

The term “free enterprise” is a general term used to describe a system in which industry and businesses are privately controlled, rather than governmentally controlled. A free economy (or free market) should not be confused with the free enterprise system; a free economy is an economic system where there is no economic intervention by the state, but instead, the laws of supply and demand determine prices and production. The boldened points differentiate a free enterprise system from a free market economy.

Free enterprise system vs free market economy

The free enterprise deals with “Who controls the businesses or industries” whereas a free market economy can be controlled by the government but the government does not control the prices of goods nor their level of production. In a free market economy, the government doesn’t fix prices and does not give production quotas.

In a free enterprise, there is no business or industry that the government controls in any way. This differs from a capitalistic economic system, where the state intervenes in businesses to control them. The term “free market” should not be confused with the term “free enterprise,” as this is a way of describing a marketplace that is not regulated by the government.

In a free enterprise system, industry and businesses are run by private individuals (and not the government) to make profits. There are few or no government regulations regarding what things they must produce, how much they can charge for their products, where their products are sold to etc. A business may be privately owned or publicly traded, and a privately owned business may or may not be run by the owner.

The government has limited responsibility about how the industry is run but does intervene in matters such as anti-monopoly laws; environmental protection; consumer protection; advertising; trade practices; banking and finance regulations, etc. The extent to which this becomes a factor in a free enterprise system depends on the country. In some countries, such as the United States, there is little government involvement – whereas China has an extensive governmental role that affects nearly every part of industry and business.

A key benefit of a free-enterprise system is that it encourages competition, but not all companies can compete equally. A monopoly is the opposite of a free-enterprise system, as it means there is only one company controlling an entire sector or industry with no competition. When there are few companies in a market and they do not compete equally, the consumer has little choice and pays high prices for poor-quality goods and services.

A monopoly does not exist in a free-enterprise system, as there are many businesses competing to provide the best service.

How does the free enterprise system work?

A free enterprise system is based on the freedom of individuals to enter into economic transactions with one another. This freedom includes the right to own property and to start, operate, and own businesses.

In a free enterprise system, the government plays only a small role in such transactions. The primary limits on business owners are those imposed by law or mandated by other businesses for their mutual benefit (for example, contracts and voluntary associations). In this regard, governments protect individual rights through contract laws and other laws that make businesses liable for damages they cause to third parties. So long as no force is used against non-consenting parties and contracts are not coerced, businesses may negotiate and come to an agreement with others for mutual gain.

Why is legal equality important to the free enterprise system?

Some people mistakenly believe that a free enterprise system is based on the absence of any rules, but this is not true. The existence of laws and legal institutions—in particular, contract law— is important because it protects the freedom of both parties in an even more fundamental way by establishing the predictable groundwork necessary for economic transactions.

Without this legal equality, people would know little about what they could expect when entering into an agreement with another business owner. When businesses were required legally to keep their agreements, it was clear what each party could expect when they entered into a transaction. This framework protected individuals’ freedom by allowing them to enter into transactions without fear of unreasonable treatment after the fact.

The primary beneficiaries of a free enterprise system are those who own property or start or operate businesses. Others benefit from the system only to the extent that they are able to purchase goods or services from others. One way legal equality benefits a free enterprise system is that all people have an equal chance to take part in the system.

How are prices determined in a free enterprise system?

In a free enterprise system, prices of goods and services are determined by the law of supply and demand. This means that as more people want to purchase a good or service, its price will be bid up. As more companies produce that good or service, the price will drop as they become more competitive.

The “law of demand and supply” for a good is one of the most fundamental principles in economics, as it demonstrates the prices of goods will rise if the supply is low relative to the number of consumers who want it, but fall if supply is high. This law is also referred to as the “invisible hand” in Adam Smith’s 1776 book The Wealth of Nations.

Why are entrepreneurs important to a free enterprise system?

Entrepreneurs are important to a free enterprise system because they are the ones who come up with ideas for new products or cheaper, improved versions of existing products. They are also risk-takers and often become successful business owners. Entrepreneurship provides jobs when people get hired.

fish market g4ec1b88ee 640

Free enterprise characteristics

  1. Markets in the free enterprise system are regulated by market forces where all factors of production (including labor) are allocated according to the dictates of demand and supply. Competition results in a coordination of efforts and resources toward the most efficient production of goods and services.
  2. Government regulations, subsidies, and anti-trust laws also define a free enterprise system
  3. A free enterprise system cannot be maintained without a profit motive because businesses must have incentives to continue operating.
  4. In a free enterprise system, there is little government control and regulation in the economy.
  5. Unlike in planned economy, the central planning committees does not fix production quotas in the free enterprise system.

Three characteristics of the free enterprise system

There are 3 main features that characterize a free enterprise system; these characteristics include privatization, economic growth, and competition between businesses for survival.

  1. Privatization means that the means of production, such as land and equipment, are owned by individuals and not by the government.
  2. Economic growth occurs when a free enterprise system is in place, because businesses are able to make a profit and reinvest this money back into their business. This can lead to jobs which can lead to more production and spending.
  3. Competition between businesses occurs in a free enterprise system and encourages businesses to produce higher quality goods and services in order to attract more customers.

Which idea is the driving force of the free enterprise system?

The driving force behind the free enterprise system is the idea that people are allowed to keep what they earn. Free enterprise is based on the belief that people are happier when they have the right to decide how to use their money instead of having it decided for them by someone else.

This economic and political system allows individuals to maintain the fruits of their labor because they keep what they earn through the use of their labor. This idea is at the heart of capitalism, which is an important but not the only feature of the free enterprise system. Free market capitalism is a system in which both factors of production and products are traded in a free market. The means of production, i.e., the raw materials, tools, and equipment used to produce goods, are all held by individuals or companies. The capital goods are then used to produce the final goods that are sold for a profit.

What are the main elements of a free enterprise system?

The 4 main elements of a free enterprise system are private property, voluntary exchange, freedom to compete, and ownership of the means of production.

Private property

Private property is the right to control something, especially a tangible object such as land or goods, and to determine who may use it. The concept of private property as the foundation of a free enterprise system is based on the principles of liberty and property. The idea of these principles is that humans have natural rights that are necessary to the sustenance of life, and in addition, humans create the property, which refers to both personal property (e.g., material objects, land, etc.) and capital (the means of production).

Voluntary exchange

Voluntary exchange can be defined as the mutually beneficial exchange of goods and services. This is called “voluntary” because each participant in an exchange affects it willingly, not under compulsion by outside forces.

Freedom to compete

Freedom to compete means that market participants are free to compete with one another without restrictions or barriers being placed upon them. For example, they are free to compete on price, quality, brand, or service.

Ownership of the means of production

Ownership of the means of production refers to the relationship between an individual and capital, which is defined as labor power that has been invested in a project with the expectation that it will yield a profit. This may involve ownership of factories and other businesses, ownership or control over natural resources such as land, oil or gas, etc.

What are the four characteristics of a free enterprise system?

The four key characteristics of a free enterprise system are free entry and exit into markets; goods and services are priced by supply and demand; businesses are privately-owned, and economic decisions reflect the cost-benefit principle.

What is the main goal of businesses that compete in a free enterprise system?

The goal of any business in a free-enterprise system is to earn the most profit.
Some businesses will succeed and grow whereas others will fail. This is due to competition or “the survival of the fittest“. Any business that fails to meet the needs of consumers will be driven out of the market.

Advantages of the free enterprise system

  1. It helps distributes jobs
  2. Free enterprise system also contributes to technological innovations
  3. Competition is encourage in this system, which then drives quality of products and services as well as fuels the needed innovations.
  4. The purpose of the free enterprise system is to

Benefits of free enterprise system

The purpose of the free enterprise system is to protect individuals from being coerced, exploited, or forced to carry the burdens of others. It is an arrangement in which people have a right to keep what they earn, and a responsibility to support themselves. This is a system that demands not only an opportunity but an unrestricted field of action in which to take advantage of it. It is a system that does not provide for the support of non-producers and “parasites.”

Government has no money of its own. The only way it can obtain the funds to pay for its operations is through taxation, through compulsory levies upon the earnings of those who work and produce. This is a burden to be cheerfully borne and considered no more than simple justice, for it is imposed under the authority of an institution that was established by the people in order to enable them to maintain their rights.

It must be preserved from political interference; from the chaos of economic ignorance, which would add to its burdens and destroy its benefits; and from the lawlessness of those who would seize what others create.

How does the free enterprise system contribute to technological innovations?

The free enterprise system encourages technological innovation by promoting entrepreneurship and business development through investment. This investment is driven by consumer interest, which spurs additional investment in research and development to create new products that will meet demand. It creates an environment where new ideas can be tried, developed, and deployed at scale thanks to the encouragement of new businesses, entrepreneurs and investors.

How is a free enterprise system linked to economic freedom?

The free enterprise system is linked to economic freedom because the rights of individuals are respected in a capitalist society, which allows for an environment where people are free to make their own choices about consumption, production, and employment.

Under this type of system, the government plays no role in private economic decisions. Free enterprise stimulates competition between companies to innovate new technologies to increase production, which leads to more economic growth. Because of its capitalistic nature, countries using it tend to have lower tax rates compared to other types of economies.


A major disadvantage of the free enterprise system is its involvement in the exploitation of people. In order to maximize profit, the free enterprise system encourages the abuse of people by denying them their basic rights because it is built on greed, where more profit made means increased status. This leads to the exploitation of people, as they are used as a source of cheap labor.

One factor that contributes to the exploitation of people is the externalizing of costs. If a business can make more profit by putting poisonous chemicals into the air or water, it will do so as long as the cost of doing so is lower than that of building a plant to neutralize those chemicals. In other words, if the cost for businesses to engage in exploitative practices outweigh the benefits, they will refrain from doing so.

The free enterprise system allows businesses to externalize costs, which leads to the exploitation of people.

Another factor that contributes to the exploitation of people is the lack of democratic principles, which are part of the free enterprise system. In a democratic society, the government is supposed to be run with the interest of people at heart, not companies. A free enterprise system does not do that, as it is a profit-seeking system.

Why is the free enterprise system subject to business cycles?

The free enterprise system is subject to business cycles because of the factors such as production and consumption, which are also the factors that affect the business cycle.

The role of consumers

In a free enterprise system, consumers decide which goods and services are produced through their purchase decisions. How it works is that, if a consumer isn’t satisfied with what’s on offer in the market, he won’t buy. In turn, the producer of the unsatisfactory goods or services will have to either fix what’s been complained about or stop production if it’s not possible to do so.

Through this process, both producers and consumers benefit in the long run. Consumers enjoy good quality goods and services while producers are incentivized to provide their best work in order to receive the consumer’s business.

It’s important to note that this is true about the free enterprise system when it functions properly. When there are alternative options on offer. If a consumer has no choice but to purchase a certain product, it is no longer an act of free choice – it’s coercion. Consequently, the producer has no incentive to produce quality goods if they know that the consumer is forced to buy their products by force.

Role of government in free enterprise system

Markets in the free enterprise system are seldom regulated by the government. This can be explained by the fact that markets are well-regulated in themselves by free enterprise factors. An entrepreneur will only choose to enter an industry if he thinks his/her production will sell.

If they do not think their product will bring in enough money to cover the cost of making it, they will not manufacture it. If there is too much of this product already in the market, the manufacturer has to lower their prices or risk going out of business. If consumers feel that the product is expensive and it would be difficult for them to purchase in large quantities, then they will not buy it. In this situation, the manufacturer will lower their prices in order to compete with other manufacturers and hopefully sell more products.

When there is a low demand for the product, the manufacturer will find it difficult to make any money on it and will go out of business if they cannot lower their costs. If the government were to step in and force businesses to lower their prices, some companies would have to sell below cost. This will cause some businesses to go out of business, leading to unemployment rates increasing.

Therefore, in a free enterprise system, governments address public problems through policy to ensure that market forces are more efficient in allocating resources and not to be the main regulatory force – which would rather hurt the economy.

What is the role of government in a free enterprise system?

This free-enterprise system is largely separated from state control, but the role of government is to protect health and safety, as well as control the quality of goods and services.

What best describes the role of government in a free enterprise system?

In a free enterprise system, the government is expected to regulate business practices, such as avoiding monopolies and ensuring fair terms of trade.

Free enterprise examples

The United States is a prime example of a free enterprise system because it has historically maintained a large private sector, minimal government intervention, and an economy th0at flows smoothly between the public and private sectors. Other examples of free enterprise economies are Australia and New Zealand.

What kind of economy uses a free-enterprise system?

The capitalist economy uses a free-enterprise system. Examples of these economies or countries include the United States, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, and Australia.

The American free enterprise system

The American free enterprise system is an economic and political system that encourages private business and discourages government intervention. The goal of this system is to create a capitalist society based on the accumulation of profit and commercial activity.

This system is based on competition between businesses to gain customers, remain profitable, and survive in an open market. When a company fails to meet these goals, it may be eliminated or taken over by another company. The economy of the united states is run on a free enterprise system, in which the government does not regulate prices for goods and services that are offered by private companies.

Although the American free enterprise system is characterized by private property, private business enterprises, and little government regulation, it does have some limitations. Government intervention in the economic sector may be necessary for reasons such as protecting the public interest, ensuring fair competition among businesses, protecting consumers from high prices or shoddy products, preserving natural resources for future generations, and coping with the effects of inflation and recession.

The concept behind the U.S. free enterprise system is that all people should be able to pursue their own financial success through hard work and ingenuity. This system encourages personal responsibility for one’s financial condition rather than relying on others or on government aid.

Aspects of this economic system can be seen in the individual behavior of entrepreneurs who act as both risk-takers and business leaders. Depending on their ability to foresee market trends, they can bring goods or services into existence that meet various needs. Some successful inventors and entrepreneurs have been able to accumulate large amounts of wealth by creating consumer products or developing technologies that benefit people throughout the world.

FAQs on free enterprise

What economic system is commonly called a free enterprise system?

Capitalism (or free-market economy) is commonly called a free enterprise system. But there are slight differences between them.

Which aspect of the free enterprise system is not subject to competition?

The free market system does not subject the banking and finance industry to competition because they are in a market that requires government interference. There is no such thing as an unregulated free market in banking and finance.

What does a catalyst do in a free enterprise system?

In a free enterprise system, catalysts come in the form of private sector companies. These companies act as catalysts for many parts of modern life, including health care, education, and most importantly, jobs.

When a company has new ideas or technology, it can begin to use them in its business. If the rest of the market finds these ideas or technologies useful, consumers will buy the company’s products. The success of the product becomes an incentive for other companies to also use the idea, thus greatly increasing the number of jobs in that industry.

In this way, the free market is able to rapidly develop and distribute new ideas or technologies, resulting in a growing number of jobs.

How does competition influence markets in the free enterprise system?

Competition influences markets in the free enterprise system by promoting goods, services, and prices that consumers want. Under competition, businesses must also excel in quality and service to be profitable. This drives businesses to produce, offer, and price their products in a way that consumers approve of.
Without competition, businesses would be unresponsive to consumers and thus less successful.

In a free enterprise system, what drives individuals to risk their savings in a business venture?

An individual’s motivation to start a business is usually driven by their desire to increase their personal income.

How does investing contribute to the free enterprise system?

Investing and the free enterprise system go hand in hand. The free enterprise system is an economic system that has a lot of freedom with very little government interference. In this system, all the players within the economy have a chance to succeed and fail. The only factors that determine whether a business succeeds or fails are the quality of their product and how much people are willing to buy the good.

Businesses need money in order to make improvements on their product or service, research new products or services, advertise, and expand. If there was no one willing to give the business any money, then the business would fail. That is why individuals are willing to invest in companies that they think will be successful.

There is a risk involved with investing as it is possible to lose all the money invested, but if a person does their research and invests in a company that has potential, they can make a lot of money.

What is another name for free enterprise system?

A free enterprise system is also named capitalism or a free-market system.

What is an example of free enterprise system?

Examples of free market economies include countries like the United States of America, New Zealand, and Australia.

What is the guiding economic philosophy of the free enterprise system?

The guiding economic philosophy of the free enterprise system is that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed in life. The purpose of this is to provide individuals with the opportunity to make as much money as they want.

What is a free enterprise? Here is a youtube video that briefly explains a free enterprise means.