3.2.3 The Economic Role of Government Spend

The economic role of government spend is to meet people’s needs and support economic growth; it is tax-funded, so it is contentious

A government’s primary objective in spending money should be to serve the people.  The cost of maintaining law and order is directly related to its legal powers, as described in chapter 5; defence spending is also discussed later (; but a government can also choose to make other benefits, services and facilities available.  All these categories of spend compete for a share of national wealth, which the government funds through taxation – as described in the next section (3.2.4).

Levels of spending are decided by politicians, as described later (6.7.1), but the following sub-sections examine the economic role of government spend:

●  Apart from defence and law and order, a government can choose to fund some other public services for people’s benefit (  These can include health and education, for example, which it can fund in a variety of ways.

●  It can make investments in infrastructure and in research, to help all sectors of the economy to function better (

●  It can make benefit payments to people, to protect them from economic hardship (

●  Some government spend can be seen as displacing private enterprise and reducing its competitiveness (

●  The scope of government spend is contentious, as compared to letting people making their own choices about how to spend their money (



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This page is intended to form part of Edition 4 of the Patterns of Power series of books.  An archived copy of it is held at https://www.patternsofpower.org/edition04/323.htm