The economy is a social system that produces, distributes, and consumes goods and services in a society. Three sectors make up an economy: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
These three sectors do not exist equally in an economy and have changed considerably throughout the history of humanity.
- The primary sector refers to the part of the economy that produces raw materials, such as crude oil, timber, grain, or cotton.
- The secondary sector, made up of mills and factories, turns the raw materials into manufactured goods, like fuel, lumber, flour, or fabric.
- The tertiary sector refers to services rather than goods, and includes distribution of manufactured goods, food and hospitality services, banking, sales, and professional services like architects, physicians, and attorneys.