That includes the U.S., which like a majority of nations, has a mixed economy. There are different types of systems throughout the world, such as the command, traditional or market economy.
In a mixed system, private entrepreneurs, businesses and corporations are allowed to pursue their own goals, but at the same time, the government has the ability to provide services in the market, as well as intervene in areas like trade and taxes.
It typically has three characteristics: protecting private property, allowing the laws of supply and demand to determine prices and is motivated by the self-interest of individuals.
The U.S. government has always played a role in the nation's economic affairs. For instance, during the pandemic, lawmakers approved nearly $3 trillion in spending to prop up American businesses and workers, including sending a one-time payment of up to $1,200 to most adults.
The government is also frequently asked -- or expected -- to intervene in the economy. It regulates "natural monopolies" and uses antitrust laws to break up or control companies that become too powerful. Its reach extends beyond that of businesses: The government provides a social safety net to citizens, including Social Security, health care and unemployment benefits.
In a true free-market economy, all property must be owned by private individuals and all goods and services must be privately provided.