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To Provide Public Goods

10 May 2017Essay Samples

Is It The Government's Responsibility To Provide Public Goods?

The services provided by governments are usually considered as public goods, since, if provided; even those who would not prefer to pay for them can enjoy such services. The most normally cited example of such a public good is national defense. Once it is secured, everybody can simply benefit without having to contribute to the cost of production. The other example is maintenance of law and order.

Usually, governments have stepped in to the role of providing these public goods in order to get around the "free-riding" problem. They are believed to be able to determine the best amount of the public good to be supplied and to be able to collect the resources to fund it. Obviously, this is a value-driven exercise. One has to establish how the government should judge what is "optimal" and what is the individual's "fair share." In a democracy, these types of normative questions are answered by the people's vote.

In practice, all types of considerations motivate expenditures. There are politicians and bureaucrats who have a set of ideological objectives to carry out. They may want to make the taxation system more progressive, for example. This means taxing people with higher incomes at higher rates and, perhaps, not taxing people in the lower income groups at all. The structure of the taxation system is very tricky. Another set of objectives may be to alter production as little as possible. That is, in designing the tax code, we may want to develop a set of rules that do not change the relative cost of goods and services (and so the choice investors must make about where to invest and in what industry, etc).

So its government responsibility to provide public goods, Once they exist, they are there for all to enjoy. So it is often the most balanced policy for private performers to let others go first and seek to benefit from the good without contributing to its production. This is a predicament, that public goods face. Without some kind of collective-action mechanism, they risk being scarce. On the other hand, without collective action, public ills- such as pollution, noise, street crime, risky bank lending, and so on - would be over-provided.

Global public goods are public goods whose benefits reach across borders, generations and population groups. They form part of the broader group of international public goods, which include as another sub-group, regional public goods.

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To make the concept of a global public good more solid, we can take, for example, the eradication of small pox. Once accomplished, the entire humanity benefits - people in all parts of the world, present as well as future generations, rich and poor. Likewise, if the international community were to succeed in guaranteeing peace, everybody would be able to enjoy it. Much the same holds true for well-functioning international markets, and avoiding the risk of global climate change would secure inter-generational plus geographically common benefits, even though people in different parts of the world might benefit in different ways. Likewise, international establishments such as those for civil aviation, postal services, and telecommunications, or those recognizing a document such as a passport, all have important properties of "global public ness".

At the national level, states frequently step in to assist the joint action required to evade over-production of public evils, or under-provision of public goods. Internationally, there is no such organization. Nevertheless as history has shown, if global public goods do correspond to national wants and self-interest, states do manage to reach accord on harmonized action. But as shown in this article, international cooperation until now has chiefly been apprehensive with relations between countries and at-the-border issues. Now the challenge is to inspire countries not to let public evils fall across their borders and turn from national public evils into international public evils. This requires behind-the-border policy coordination, and places additional demands on states' readiness to help. International cooperation is increasingly a worldwide give and take, and so possibly a harder bargain than before.

Thus, it is necessary to identify that the publicity of a good does not routinely mean that all people merit it in the same way. Impoverished people, who cannot afford to travel, may not place the utmost value on an international passport system. They may give first choice to ensuring global health or to free trade so that their goods can also find new markets. Other people may rank the control of international terrorism or stability of international financial markets highest. In establishing a global public goods program, it is, thus, significant to make sure that the main concerns of diverse population groups are being considered justifiably.

It the government's responsibility to provide public goods, even the wealthiest person cannot do without public goods, including global public goods. Neither can markets. To function efficiently, they need property rights, legal institutions, nomenclature, learned people, peace and security.

Government is the foundation of a society especially accountable for maintaining justice among members as members. This duty is normally accomplished only by the use of physical force, which government, by high merit of its exclusive devotion to the principle of due process -- e.g., strict rules of evidence, clear and present danger, reliable cause, quick and fair trial requirements, etc. -- is established to carry out.

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